Jersey Heritage is excited to announce that an important 18th century painting of an Island scene is being donated to the charity and will be added to its collections for posterity.
The painting by artist Thomas Whitcombe is called Jersey Pier with a Distant View of Elizabeth Castle and was painted in 1785. It has been privately owned by Islanders Simon and Clare Perrée for the past 14 years and is subject to an export ban due to its cultural significance to Jersey.
Having understood how special the painting is to the Island, the couple decided to donate it to Jersey Heritage to ensure that it can remain here and be enjoyed by future generations. The official handover takes place tomorrow (11th) at Jersey Museum & Art Gallery.
Louise Downie, Jersey Heritage’s Director of Curation & Experience, said: “Our thanks go to Simon and Clare Perrée for this hugely generous donation. We are very excited to add the Whitcombe painting to our collections and for the Perrées to become Life Patrons of Jersey Heritage. It is the only painting of an Island scene by Whitcombe that we know of so it is wonderful that it can go on display in Jersey where it has the most meaning and relevance.”
The Whitcombe painting is an oil on canvas and captures a time in Jersey’s history when smuggling was a big issue for the authorities. In the 18th century, the Channel Islands and French waters were rich pickings for smugglers and in an effort to stop this illegal trade, the British Navy sent revenue cutters – small ships built for speed and armed with cannons. In the painting, a cutter has sails full of cannon ball holes, suggesting it had recently been in action.
Whitcombe lived and worked as an artist in London and specialised in painting naval battles. In 1785, Jersey was one of the frontiers in the many wars between Britain and France. Just four years earlier, a small French force invaded the Island but was defeated during the Battle of Jersey in 1781. Whitcombe’s work is represented in the Tate Gallery, National Maritime Museum and other museums and galleries worldwide.
Simon Perrée said: “We fell in love with the Whitcombe painting when we bought it at auction in London in 2007 and were delighted to bring it back to the Island where it belongs.
It’s been a joy to have it on display in our home for so many years but we felt the time was right to donate it to Jersey Heritage so that everyone can enjoy this special painting.”
After the official handover tomorrow, the Whitcombe painting will be hung at Jersey Museum & Art Gallery.