Artist’s record of familiar faces

Baliffgate Museum exhibition.'Cover image of As They Really Were and the artist Percy Forster.
Baliffgate Museum exhibition.'Cover image of As They Really Were and the artist Percy Forster.

SPOT your ancestors through a series of unique drawings in an exciting new exhibition at the Bailiffgate Museum.

A showcase of work by 19th-century Alnwick artist Percy Forster goes on show at the town attraction in its As They Really Were display, which opens on Wednesday and runs until March 26.

Baliffgate Museum exhibition.'Cover image of As They Really Were and the artist Percy Forster.

Baliffgate Museum exhibition.'Cover image of As They Really Were and the artist Percy Forster.

Forster was the son of the Duke of Northumberland’s gamekeeper and his sketches are of Alnwick folk in the 1830s, at the time of the first census.

They show a cross-section of society, from Handy Tom, the butcher’s man, to Wise Willie, Purvis the cow doctor and Henry Trotter, the horse farrier.

The drawings feature in a new book by renowned historian and author Professor Keith Middlemas, which is titled As They Really Were – the Citizens of Alnwick 1831.

It is being published in April and examines political, economic and social life in the town during that period, before the Industrial Revolution.

Professor Middlemas, who comes from an old Alnwick family and taught at the University of Sussex, will also be giving a lecture about how these fascinating sketches came to light, who the people were and what they did.

The talk will take place on Tuesday, March 13, at the museum from noon until 1.30pm.

Refreshments will be provided and the talk is free, but donations are welcome.

To book a place, contact the museum by emailing ask@bailiffgatemuseum.co.uk or calling 01665 605847.

l The museum’s current exhibitions, Historic Alnwick and A Stroll in the Parks, are on display until Sunday.

Historic Alnwick presents a range of images, maps and texts celebrating some of Alnwick’s old buildings and telling their stories.

A Stroll in the Parks shows a selection of photographs of inspiring Northumbrian landscapes and wildlife.

The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 10am to 4pm, but is closed Mondays.

Admission is £2.50 adults, £2 concessions and free for U16s. Entry for a family of two adults and one concession is £6.70 while a family of two adults and two concessions is £7.60.

For more information, visit www.bailiffgatemuseum.co.uk

l The museum is staging a coffee morning at Alnwick’s Northumberland Hall on Saturday, March 10, from 9.30am to 12.30pm.

A piece of work by north Northumberland-based textile artist Jane Jackson will be the star raffle prize on the day.

A silent auction for another of Jackson’s rag-rug creations will also be launched at the event and will then go on show at the museum throughout the summer.

The auction will continue at the attraction and the top bidder will be named in October.

Jackson and Margaret Kenny will also run a rag-rugging workshop at the museum on Saturday, March 31, from 10am to 4pm.

Contact the museum for further details.

l The museum is volunteer-led and relies on the hard work and creativity of its community of volunteers and trustees.

To get involved, contact the museum.