Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Recent Donation - RNLI Medal

Last Saturday the Museum received a wonderful donation of a RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) medal awarded to Robert brown of Kingsbarns in 1915. The donation is fitting considering our current Great War exhibition, but the medal is also very relevant to the Museum’s existing maritime collection. As well as the medal, the donor gifted the accompanying certificate and letters of thanks sent to Robert Brown from those he rescued.

Robert Brown was awarded the medal on the 14th of January 1915. He assisted in the rescue of two pilots when their seaplane crashed during a storm off the east coast of Scotland on the 1st January 1915. Local newspaper reports: “The hydroplane was in the vicinity of Kingsbarns when it descended and on touching the water it turned turtle. The two aviators managed to cling to their partially submerged machine and meantime the lifeboat was launched from St Andrews on receipt of the news of the airmen’s peril”.

Robert Brown, David Ritchie and Archibald Ritchie were fishing in the area and managed to reach the men before the lifeboat. They rescued the pilots in treacherous conditions and took them to St Andrews where the pilots recovered from their ordeal. The two pilots were Flight Commander Hans Acworth Busk (later killed in action in Gallipoli in January 1916) and Lieutenant Colonel L. H. Strain. They both later wrote to Robert Brown thanking him for his efforts, and the Museum is delighted to have also obtained these letters for our archive.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Winifred McKenzie Acquisition

Museum Curator Samantha Bannerman
with the painting
The Museum is delighted with its newest acquisition Still life with red and blue poppies by Winifred McKenzie. With the assistance of the National Fund for Acquisitions we were able to table a competitive bid for the painting at auction in Edinburgh, and our bid won. Using archive material relating to Winifred and Sister Alison, it was possible to determine that the painting was first sold at a St Andrews Art Club exhibition in 1977.
Although we hold an archive of information on the McKenzie sisters, we do not have any of their oil paintings in the art collection, making this a really important acquisition for the Museum. The painting will go on public display in the Museum for one month during Easter 2015 alongside a number of other recent acquisitions.

We are extremely grateful for the support from the National Fund for Acquisitions.