Artefact of the Month

Forresters on duty

Lifeboat rescues have long been a popular subject for artists. Their inspiration, of course, is the drama of the event, the toughness and bravery of the volunteer crewmen and the community's pride in their achievements. The most dramatic rescues naturally took place in the worst of weather conditions and often at night, so the artist usually had to create an image based on later accounts of the rescue, spiced perhaps by a layer of imagination.

This painting shows the Foresters Centenary on its way to assist a ship we have not identified. There is a signature - 'W.P Burton' - and a date which appears to be '58'. Both have been covered by semi-transparent overpainting, so the year could possibly be '38'. The Foresters Centenary was in service from 1936 until 1961, so either year is possible, though the dates of the event and the painting don't necessarily correspond.

W.P.Burton R.A. was a well-known artist, but he did not paint seascapes and he died in 1886. Our W.P.Burton may be one of his descendents; we would like to know more!


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