Lenkiewicz Painting is heart of Devonport Guildhall!

An original piece of work by Robert Lenkiewicz is on display at the Devonport Guildhall until Christmas Eve on 24th December 2014.

The 16ft canvas named ‘Plymouth Building its Future’ was commissioned in 1977 by Lenkiewicz – consisting of prominent architects and engineers, including Isambard Kingdom Brunel who built the Tamar Bridge; John Foulston - who designed many of Plymouths public and private buildings; Sir Patrick Abercrombie – the Town planner and the co-author of ‘Plan for Plymouth’ and its other author J. Paton Watson – Plymouth City engineer and Surveyor, who designed much of the post war City Centre.

There are also many Plymouth landmarks in the picture including Smeaton’s Tower, Sir Francis Drake, Derry’s Clock, the Royal Citadel Gates, the War Memorial, and (of course) Devonport Column.

Francis Mallett, Chairman of the Lenkiewicz Foundation, introduces us to the artist behind the painting, ‘Robert Lenkiewicz was a painter who lived in Plymouth from the late 1960s until he died in 2002. He is the most famous painter to be associated with the city during the post war era.

During the last year, ‘Plymouth Building its Future’ has been on tour around Germany. Francis explains over the past 30 years the painting has been kept in the Plymouth Guildhall.

‘It was exhibited in two locations in Germany last year and has previously been stored in the depths of Plymouth Guildhall since it was removed from the offices of the owners of the painting when they were no longer able to house it in the 1970s

Francis has hopes of the painting staying at the Guildhall; he explains: ‘Hopefully it’s going to hang in this entirely appropriate building, for the conceivable future.

‘The relevance of the painting to the building is enormous. It’s a building built by John Foulston, John Foulston is in the painting and so is the Devonport Column, and many of the landmarks of Plymouth and its architects.’

Clare Burgess, Commercial manager at the Devonport Guildhall, was delighted to see the painting displayed in the Main Hall, she said ‘It’s so representative of the three towns and so timely given that we are in the centenary year.

Clare continued ‘It shows John Foulston, the architect that was responsible for designing the Devonport Guildhall, so that’s a very key link. In the painting itself is depicted Devonport Column, which we’ve just restored and re-opened in the last 18 months’.

The painting is now available to visit in the Main Hall of Devonport Guildhall - Monday to Friday 9am-5pm and on Saturday 9am-4pm.

Clare has advised whoever would like to view the painting to call the Guildhall on 01752 395028 to avoid double bookings – the Main Hall is also used for Conferences, Weddings and private functions.

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