Famous son returns to Torrington
A detailed replica of a valuable portrait of the father of Torrington Town Hall is hanging back in its spiritual home. The picture of former MP for Devon John Rolle Walter was painted in 1753 by famous Italian artist Pompeo Batoni, but hung unnoticed in
A detailed replica of a valuable portrait of the "father" of Torrington Town Hall is hanging back in its spiritual home.
The picture of former MP for Devon John Rolle Walter was painted in 1753 by famous Italian artist Pompeo Batoni, but hung unnoticed in Torrington for decades until its rarity and value were discovered.
Its sale to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter brought �285,000 to the �900,000 appeal to raise money to revamp the town hall.
It was promised by the trustees of the town hall, The Great Torrington Town and Alms Lands Trust that an exact replica of the painting and its frame would be returned to replace the original and now it is as if John Rolle Walter had never been away.
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An official unveiling will take place on Wednesday of next week (November 18) followed by and open event from 2.30-6.30pm, when all are invited to come and see him restored to pride of place and plans for the refurbishment of the building.
The events also see the official launch of The Town Hall Titans, a friends group of which will work to raise money on behalf of the project.
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Former Torrington mayor Anne Tattersall has agreed to become Chief Titan and the trustees are grateful to her and husband Chris for their help.
Meanwhile the elusive Viper, who has been anonymously sending �1 coins to the project fund from locations around the world, including Australia, Gibraltar and Disneyland Florida, has now contributed a total of �64 to the project.
All are welcome to go along on Wednesday, November 18 to find out more about the Great Torrington Town Hall Project and also attend the project AGM on Monday, November 23 at 7pm.
John Rolle Walter was born in 1712 and was Recorder of Torrington from 1739 until his death in 1779. He was MP for Exeter from 1754-1776, when he became an MP for Devon.