A PAINTING of a nostalgic scene from Southend’s past has been donated to the town’s art gallery.
Thrilled staff from the Beecroft Art Gallery have been presented with a soughtafter original artwork to bring tourists flocking in.
The picture of a seascape “Windjammer with a tug standing by off Southend”, which features Southend’s world-famous pier, was donated to the gallery by Network Rail.
It is an original picture by maritime artist Charles Pears, first used as a basis for a railway destination poster. Now gallery experts are hunting for an original copy of the poster to team up with it.
The painting – together with the poster, if it can be found – will be exhibited when the gallery reopens at its new home in the former Southend Central Library, in Victoria Avenue, in September.
Derek Jarvis, councillor responsible for culture and tourism, said: “This wonderful painting will be a terrific addition to the Beecroft Art Gallery. In the Twenties and Thirties, railway companies employed some very eminent artists of the time – such as Charles Pears – to create advertising posters, encouraging trippers to travel by train to key locations.
“These original pictures are highly-prized artworks and it is fitting that we will be able to display this painting at the destination it was promoting.
“We are very grateful to NetworkRail for this generous donation, which celebrates Southend’s tourism heritage.”
The arrival of the picture is one of many developments going on behind the scenes while the Beecroft prepares to move into its new home.
The Friends of the Beecroft are acquiring seven pictures by local artist Alan Sorrell.
These and more of his paintings will be displayed in November at a special exhibition dedicated to his work.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester, chairman of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board of the Science Museum, said: “I am delighted Charles Pears’ wonderful painting is going home to Southend. It was originally commissioned by the London and North Eastern Railway to promote rail travel to Southend, and was one of a series of fine works of art painted by leading artists for the railway companies.”
If anyone has an original copy of the railway poster which goes with it, contact Clare Hunt, curatorial manager for Southend Museums Service, on 01702 434449 or at