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Darwen ‘view’ in national archive
A WORK of art created in Darwen 20 years ago by a woman now aged 100 is featured in a new national archive of the nation’s paintings.
The BBC has teamed up with the Public Catalogue Foundation to create Your Paintings, a bid to record every oil, tempera and acrylic painting in the UK’s national collection and make it accessible to the public online.
In 1992, Ruby Lever completed her painting of Darwen from Holker House, and now it resides in Blackburn Museum.
Mrs Lever, of Punstock Road, said she only ever painted as a hobby.
She said: “In 1976, a couple we were friendly with came round and the wife was saying how she had been to painting classes. My husband said he had been trying to get me into it, so she asked if I wanted to go with her and I did.
“The classes were in the old technical college in Union Street, and that is what started me off.
“But I only really did it for pleasure and I think other people thought more of them than I ever did.”
Mrs Lever, who turned 100 in August, said the painting on the Your Paintings website came about after she saw the view from Holker House.
She said: “The classes moved after the old tech closed down. I was in Holker House at a painting class and I saw that the toilet window was open.
“I looked out and thought it was a good view, so I took a photograph of it and that is how I came to paint it.”
The painting was hung in Mrs Lever’s living room until recently.
She said: “I was thinking as I got older I didn’t want it ending up at Steptoe and Sons!
“I didn’t want to sell it, but I had spent a lot of hours on it.
“I was talking to the local councillors, Dave Smith and Eileen Entwistle, who came to have a look at it.
“They liked it, so I asked if they wanted it as a gift to the council and they jumped at it.
“I believe it ended up in the mayor’s parlour and was surprised when I heard it was in the museum in Blackburn.”
The full archive of 172,000 paintings can be seen at www.bbc.co.uk/ arts/yourpaintings.