CHARLES Towneley’s grand tours in the 18th century took him across Classical Rome, as he accumulated treasures which would one day form their own collection in the British Museum.

Even today there is interest in the Towneley Marbles and the Towneley Hall museum holds a large archive of diaries and letters from the 1760s recounting his trips to Italy.


Those associated with his ancestral family home in Burnley who share the adventurer’s passion for preservation are celebrating the grand unveiling of a restored painting How Lisa Loved The King by Edmund Blair Leighton.

The Towneley Hall Society paid £4,000 to have the Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece revived, and invited Charles’ descendant and their patron, Sir Simon Towneley, to have the first glimpse of the reconditioned work.

Mayor of Burnley Cllr Andrew Tatchell, defending Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle and Cllr Cosima Towneley were among guests.

One of Charles Towneley’s last major purchases, two Discobolus, or disc thrower, statues, are benefiting from society fundraising.

While the original, dating back to 460BC, is now in the National Gallery, the two replicas costing £8,600 are now in front of the Johann Zoffany self-portrait in the Green Regency Room.

Charles Towneley’s own bust, made after his death in 1805, was installed at Towneley Hall Museum after an £187,000 grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund in 2008.

On May Day Bank Holiday the next fundraising effort starts with a books, craft and a bric-a-brac sale at the hall.

Plans are also afoot to create a Pendelfin rabbit trail in the hall, after a recent bequest, to honour the work of Burnley artist Jean Walmsley Heap, who co-created the figurines in the 1950s.