THREE Helensburgh organisations were involved in the opening of the annual Anderson (Local Collection) Trust exhibition in Helensburgh Library.

The exhibition, which was officially opened on January 10 by Maurice Corry MSP and is open to the public until June, covers two interests very close to the heart of the Collection’s donor, Nance Anderson MBE — music and art.

Many of the pictures on display were in the original bequest, but there are also a number of significant works on loan from private collectors.

Among those at the opening ceremony were members of the Anderson family and Trustees, and members of Helensburgh and District Art Club, and the Helensburgh and Lomond Fiddlers who provided some lively fiddle music.

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Exhibition organiser Mary-Jane Selwood said: “The main aim of the Anderson Trust has been to respect the wishes of its donor in caring for this unique art collection for the benefit and enjoyment of the people of Helensburgh.

“In this the Trustees have been greatly assisted by the helpful co-operation of, first, Dumbarton District Council and, for the past 20 years, Argyll and Bute Council.

“Over the years, the Trust has much appreciated its links with other Helensburgh organisations and in this exhibition the Trustees welcome the participation of artists from the Art Club, whose works on the theme add an interesting contemporary feature to the display.”

The focus on music which characterises this exhibition is also a strong interest of many of the artists represented in the Anderson Trust Collection.

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For instance, Ailsa Tanner was a talented artist and also a keen amateur flautist. James Whitelaw Hamilton is remembered as an accomplished painter but his contribution to music locally is often overlooked.

He was instrumental in establishing the Helensburgh Subscription Concerts and acted as its honorary secretary for many years.

Nance Anderson took a great interest in all the performing arts and, though not a performing musician herself, she is remembered for teaching author and poet WH Auden, who taught at Larchfield School, how to whistle.

Art and the musical theme continue through her successors in the Anderson family. Her nephew, the late Bill Anderson, used to perform in amateur Gilbert and Sullivan productions, and his accomplishments as a singer continue through his sons Robin and Matthew, the present chairmen of the Anderson Trust.

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The artistic gene is also evident in Nance’s other great nephew, Jim Anderson, a professional artist, and in the next generation through Matthew’s daughters, Phoebe and Georgina.

It is now 40 years since Nance Anderson’s death and the formation of the Anderson Trust. The original collection of 34 paintings has grown to 126, thanks to generous donations and the occasional purchase.

Mrs Selwood added: “People from Helensburgh and other parts of Argyll and Bute, and further afield, have been able to enjoy some 19 exhibitions in the excellent gallery space at the library.

“So it is time to be grateful and to celebrate a splendid local asset with this special exhibition.”

(Words and pictures by Donald Fullarton)

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