AIM Conservation Grants – Next Round Closes September 30

AIM members from small and medium size museums are eligible to apply to the AIM Preventive Conservation Grant Scheme and the AIM Conservation Grant Scheme. Both schemes are generously supported by The Pilgrim Trust and the next round of applications closes on September 30th 2015.

Since these grant schemes started, hundreds of AIM member museums and heritage sites have benefited, and both schemes have been set up to help develop a more sustainable approach to the conservation and management of collections. To check your eligibility and for further information, please see the AIM website: AIM Grant Schemes

We like to showcase previous examples of successful applicants, so that anyone thinking of applying can see the type of conservation work that AIM has previously funded. The following is a report from Colonel A S Taylor, Honorary Curator at The Herefordshire Light Infantry Museum, on how an AIM Conservation Grant of £1684 supported the conservation of a painting.

The Herefordshire Light Infantry Museum

‘Advance at Suvla’ by Charles Dixon, courtesy of The Herefordshire Regimental Museum

The Herefordshire Regimental Museum exists in Hereford to maintain the spirit and ethos of the Regiment. The Herefords (as they were known) were a Territorial Regiment, mobilised for action in 1914 and 1939. The Herefords, comprising a single Battalion, were mobilised in August 1914 and had their baptism of fire at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli; the action depicted in this painting ‘Advance at Suvla’.

The Battalion performed well and their actions were brought to the attention of the Commander in Chief, Sir Ian Hamilton who specifically mentioned them in his despatches. Most of the men serving in the Battalion at the time were from Herefordshire and many of the families of those soldiers still live in the county and some are associated with the Museum and the Reserve Forces.

The painting by Charles Dixon, a painter of some note, was commissioned soon after the action by the County’s Territorial Forces Association to commemorate the event. Through the years the painting has become synonymous with the Herefordshire Regiment; it is effectively the Regiment’s and Museum’s ‘trademark’ and is recognised throughout the County. The painting forms a significant part of the Museum’s collection and hangs in the Drill Hall at Suvla Barracks.

As part of the centenary commemorations it is planned to hold, amongst other events an Open Day (Suvla100), which is fully supported by The Herefordshire First World War Centenary Committee (HFWWCC). The plan includes the display of 100 medals groups of men from the Herefords that served at Gallipoli. The Advance at Suvla painting will also be prominent during this period and will make a significant contribution to the commemorations.

The Trustees determined that the painting should be restored and conserved prior to the centenary; from records held for the first time since it was painted in 1921. Advice was sought from the County’s Museum Services staff and a plan put in place. Britton and Storey, ICON registered conservators were selected to carry out the work and conducted a detailed survey.

The Museum is totally volunteer run and receives no formal funding, thus the cost of the task was a major consideration. Discussions with The Friends of Herefordshire Museums and Arts secured a grant in support of this project of £500. AIM agreed to fund the balance the project cost: £1684.

The work is now complete and the painting hangs in pride of place in the Drill Hall, new (painting friendly) lighting has been installed and the painting looks stunning and will certainly be a most significant part of the commemorations; it has already drawn considerable complimentary comment. The Museum Trustees are most grateful for the generous grant received from AIM which made the conservation possible.

Colonel A S Taylor

Honorary Curator

The Herefordshire Light Infantry Museum

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