Battle painting could be returning to town

AN HISTORIC painting could be returning to Daventry after concerns that it may otherwise have to be sold off.

Daventry District Council (DDC) bought the 300-year-old Battle of Naseby painting, worth an estimated £20,000, in 1991 after receiving a grant from the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London.

The painting had previously been housed at Daventry’s Moot Hall in Market Square, but it was moved to Market Harborough Museum in 2004 after the Moot Hall closed due to funding cut backs.

Now officials from the V&A have said they want their money back because the painting is no longer displayed in the Daventry area, which was one of the conditions when the grant was agreed.

That has led to DDC looking into ways of how it can be brought back to the town, with the Daventry Town Council Museum in New Street and the town’s proposed new library both being investigated as a possible new home.

DDC’s executive director, Ian Vincent, said selling the painting would be a last resort.

He added: “The terms of the grant require that the painting should be on display within approved premises in Daventry so we’re currently considering the options available for the display of the painting. This could be achieved in the proposed new library in Daventry, although there is likely to be time pressures from the V&A to achieve an acceptable interim solution.

“Selling the painting to pay back the grant would be a last resort and no decision has been made to do this.”

Naseby expert Martin Marix Evans said the painting was of great historical importance as it was painted within living memory of the 1645 battle by somebody who clearly understood the arms used at the time.

He said: “It’s a very rare painting as it’s one of the earliest made of a battle which actually took place on British soil. I think it’s of huge importance that it remains in our county.”

It is not known who the painting is by or exactly when it was painted, but it shows the battlefield from the Parliamentarian’s point of view.