Thursday, 29 November 2012

Bid to rebuild dismantled Georgian country house

From The Derby Telegraph

The owner of a dismantled Georgian country house has offered to rebuild it to serve as a Wright of Derby tourist attraction. Kevin Ellis owns Burnaston House, a country house in Derbyshire taken apart in the 1990s and put into storage so that a Toyota plant could be built.

Since then, Mr Ellis has made several attempts to secure planning permission to reassemble it in South Derbyshire but has been denied planning permission. He says the house could be the ideal setting for a tourist attraction to house the city's collection of Joseph Wright paintings and artefacts.

Mr Ellis has spoken out in the wake of a new debate over whether the city is making the most of its Wrights. In June, it was revealed the city council owns several Wrights that are stored out of public sight. At the moment, some oils are on display in a dedicated room at the Museum and Art Gallery but Mr Ellis believes they and the dozens of sketches in storage deserve greater exposure.

This month saw the official launch of Derby Museums, a charitable trust which will work to improve the city's museums service and promote Wright of Derby. Its executive director, Stuart Gillis, said: "Derby Museums, the city council and other partners are working together on development schemes for various aspects of the city's excellent heritage. It is unclear how the type of proposal suggested could currently be accommodated; however, it's very useful to know about this resource. We suggest that Mr Ellis seeks guidance from English Heritage." Derby Museums is drawing up its own plans to take the collection of Wright paintings on an international tour of top art galleries. The exhibition would then end in Derby with a large celebratory event. Mr Gillis said he hoped the tour could show the people of Derby the true value of the Wright collection.