AIM Pilgrim Trust Conservation Grant – Durham Museum

Conservation of two paintings by George Fennell Robinson

Durham Museum received a donation of two paintings by George Fennell Robson in 2021, a bequest from a descendant of the artist. An AIM Pilgrim Trust Conservation Grant has enabled the paintings to be repaired and cleaned for permanent display.

George Fennell Robson was born in Durham in 1788 and baptized in St Mary le Bow parish church, which now houses Durham Museum. Taught to draw in Durham, he became a celebrated artist exhibiting at the Royal Academy. Famous for his view of Durham (1808) and highland landscapes, he was President of the Society of Painters in Oil and Watercolours in 1813. One of the paintings donated to Durham Museum is a self-portrait in oils, likely commemorating his Presidency. The other, requiring careful repair, is a copy of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s 1801 painting of John Kemble as Hamlet (now in Tate Britain), which will join Durham Museum’s displays on the Kemble family’s role in Durham’s lively Georgian theatres – on Durham’s very own “Drury Lane”.

George Fennell Robson died of food poisoning following a visit to Stockton on Tees in 1833 and was buried in St. Mary-le-Bow church. His self-portrait will now hang near his monument in the chancel.

Dr Adrian Green, Chair, Durham Museum 

Pictured: Fennell Robson self-portrait; and Fennell Robson’s Kemble as Hamlet.

The AIM Pilgrim Trust conservation grants support small to medium sized museums to care for their collections more effectively and efficiently and to meet the standards required for Accreditation. Click here to find out more and apply>>