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Art Gallery gets funding for project on unique Bideford pigment

11:47 04 February 2013

Bideford Black Miners 1935, Image from Ackland and Edwards archive.

Bideford Black Miners 1935, Image from Ackland and Edwards archive.


New project will uncover history of ‘Bideford black’, a pigment which was mined in the town for 200 years.

THE Burton Art Gallery in Bideford has received a £8,700 grant for a project to find out more about the history of Bideford Black.

The pigment, which occurs naturally and was found uniquely in Bideford, was mined for 200 years until 1969.

Miranda Clarke Visual Arts Manager at The Burton said: “It’s fantastic news that we have been awarded this grant and we can’t wait to get started.

“Older members of the local community still remember Bideford Black, but if we’re not careful to record and document these memories and collect relevant artefacts that first hand information will be lost forever.

“For me, what’s even more exciting is that Bideford Black is not only part of our local heritage but it’s also an artists’ material.

“In fact a number of local artists, such as Pete Ward, who inspired this project, still use Bideford Black in their work.

“So it has a direct connection with the current day.

“It’s so important to teach and share our heritage with future generations and this project will add to our knowledge and preserve history.”

The funding comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund All Our Stories grant, launched earlier this year in support of BBC Two’s The Great British Story.

Councillor Jane Whittaker, Torridge District Council’s lead member for communities added: “This project and the funding secured for it is another triumph for the Burton and for Bideford as well.

“There are a wealth of stories to be told about the town’s significant past and this one of them.

“The story behind the rise and fall of Bideford Black will now be told and of equal importance will be available to future generations.”


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