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Paintings by famous Eye artist are coming home

Angela Kilmartin, great, great, great granddaughter of Eye Artist Robert Mendham.

Angela Kilmartin, great, great, great granddaughter of Eye Artist Robert Mendham.

Works of a famous Eye artist are to be returned to the town by his last living relative.

Robert Mendham, who lived from 1792 to 1875, was born in Church Street and worked and resided in Eye for most of his life.

His last living relative - great, great, great granddaughter Angela Kilmartin, from Brentwood, Essex, - is to donate seven of his works to the town council, to join others in the council chamber.

It was after a visit to the Eye Town Council Chamber earlier this month that Mrs Kilmartin decided to offer the paintings - which has been accepted by the town councillors.

With formalities of the handover to be finalised, a handover of the pictures has been earmarked for September of next year to coincide with English Heritage Weekend.

Moyse’s Hall, in Bury St Edmunds, had also shown an interest in the pictures.

“I am the last of the line so it falls to me to put the family pictures in the best possible place,” she said.

“I just had a thought about Eye because that is where Robert Mendham worked - the family business was there.

“It is much better for them to be hanging for everybody to see.

“They have been in my view for 68 years,” Mrs Kilmartin added. “They had been hanging in my parent’s home first.”

The works were left to Mrs Kilmartin after her father, Frank, died in 2000.

“I am very fond of them. I have had them all cleaned 
up professionally. I am thrilled.”

Andrew Evitt, of Eye Town Council, told the Diss Express: “It is a real feather in Eye’s hat to get them. It is only right and proper that they come back to Eye - the place of his birth.

“We are hoping we can make it a special event when we get the pictures back because it is a return of a native, as it were.”

Robert Mendham married Ann Cater, of nearby Walsham-le-Willows, in 1830, and had five sons and three daughters.

Buried in Eye cemetery, he played an active role in the town, acting as a 
town councillor, and continued the family business of a coachmakers in the town following the death of 
his brother Henry in 
1827.

 

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