A missing oil painting dating back to the 1930s is reunited with its rightful owners after it was discovered for sale on Derian House Children’s Hospice’s eBay shop.
The work of art, by local artist Ernest Holden, is a depiction of Grade II listed Rock Hall in Farnworth – once home to a family of paper manufacturers.
Today, the building is in a state of neglect and awaits the results of a £4million funding bid to restore it to its former glory.
When campaigners fighting to save the hall spotted the artwork on the popular auction website, they contacted the charity immediately to purchase the relic.
But staff at Derian House gifted the painting to the Rock Hall team, happy for it to be placed where it belongs, inside the grand building.
It is a mystery as to how the 90-year-old painting ended up in Derian’s possession, having been anonymously donated to one of its charity shops among other items.
The hall, which has lain empty since 2014 and has nothing of value inside, has been subject to theft and vandalism over the past few years. This prompted husband and wife team Jayne and Christopher Allman of Banana Enterprise Network (the Charity that has been working hard to save Rock Hall since January 2020), to search for items that could have once been displayed within the hall’s walls.
The pair met with Derian House Assistant Shop Manager, Tony Smalley, to collect the masterpiece and in exchange donated some goody bags and gifts for the hospice’s shops.
Not only that, but the Save Rock Hall project raised money for Derian House at their latest event that saw over 150 supporters and volunteers gather in Moses Gate Country Park, nearby Rock Hall, to spell out “Save Rock Hall” with their bodies.
The Save Rock Hall Project was born in 2014 when Jayne and Chris began to look for a permanent headquarters for their charity, Banana Enterprise Network, and they came across the historic structure.
The couple plan to turn Rock Hall into a vibrant destination venue for the community.
Jayne, CEO and Founder of Banana Enterprise Network, said: “We’re so grateful to Derian House for donating Ernest Holden’s painting to us.
“We’re very pleased that it can now be restored to its former glory, and hopefully, if things go to plan, it can hang proudly inside Rock Hall.
“When Derian handed over the painting, we wanted to thank them and so brought them some gifts that they can sell in their retail shops. We hope to support their work in the future.”
Derian House Children’s Hospice has six charity shops across Lancashire where you can shop sustainably for fashion, accessories, furniture, homewares, electrical items, and more. All proceeds go towards the 450 children and young people that the charity provides care for each year.
Andrew Upton-Ford, Head of Retail and Online Sales, said: “We had no idea that the painting, that was donated anonymously, was an unknown piece of Lancashire history. You really never know what treasures you might find in our shops.
“We were pleased to be able to return the painting to Jayne and Chris and wish them all the best in their mission to restore Rock Hall.”