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Local artist reunited with wife’s lost painting

Published Friday, 09 October 2015

A local artist is to be reunited with a painting he thought was lost, after his daughter spotted it hanging in the offices of Wellingborough Council and told the story of its romantic history.

Leonard Goff will be presented with the painting, entitled ‘Christine’s Saturday Swans’, by the Mayor of Wellingborough, Cllr Barry Graves, at a council meeting next Tuesday.

Mr Goff painted the picture for his wife back in 1995 and entered it into the council’s annual open art competition a year later, where it was awarded 3rd place. Under the rules of the competition, any paintings that were placed were retained by the council to be displayed in public areas and promote local artists.

His daughter Lindsay was at the council for a meeting recently when she spotted the painting. She said: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw my father’s painting hanging above the reception desk.

“It was painted by my father Leonard for my mum Christine, after she had given him a series of books called ‘The Saturday Books.’ In one was a photo of two swans, which she said, like her and dad, mated for life.

“This inspired him to paint the picture that she loved and was so proud of.

“A neighbour convinced her to enter it into the council’s art competition, which she did, giving it the different name of ‘Embankment Natives.’ Mum didn’t realise that if the painting was placed it wouldn’t be returned. Both mum and dad deeply regretted the loss of the painting and often spoke of it over the years.

“Sadly seven years ago, when they had been married for 49 years, mum died unexpectedly. In her memory, dad decided to reproduce the picture she had loved so much. It hangs in his living room now, bearing the original title of Christine’s Saturday Swans, and he often remarks that he wishes he still had the original that she so adored.”

After spotting the picture in the council’s reception and sharing her story with officers, Wellingborough councillors unanimously agreed that the painting should be returned to Mr Goff.

Mayor of Wellingborough, Cllr Barry Graves, said: “We were all moved by Lindsay’s story. The open art competition ran for many years and this is the first time we’ve heard such an interesting back story to one of the entries.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting Mr Goff next week and am delighted to reunite him with the painting that means so much to him and his family.”

Mr Leonard Goff will attend the meeting of the full council on Tuesday 13 October at 7pm to be presented with his painting. He will be accompanied by his daughter Lindsay. Mr Goff will be bringing another of his works to hang in place of Christine’s Saturday Swans in the council’s reception.