Grasmere Home Guard feature in oil painting

Grasmere Home Guard painted by Gilbert Spencer
Image caption Grasmere Home Guard, Imperial War Museum Concise Art Collection, Spencer, Gilbert (RA)

The Home Guard feature as part of a series of artworks from Cumbria in 'Your Paintings', a new BBC arts project.

During World War II evacuees from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London were based in the Lake District.

Hanging on a wall of the Imperial War Museum in London is a painting called 'The Grasmere Home Guard' dated 1943.

It was painted by artist and former professor of painting at the RCA, Gilbert Spencer.

Research for the BBC One television programme 'Hidden Paintings', identifies the painting as possibly a scene from Rydal Water.

Also, at the Armitt Library and Museum in Ambleside, is a painting of the Ambleside Home Guard by RCA student Frederick Brill, painted in 1943.

Frederick Brill was a Sergeant in the Ambleside Home Guard and in his painting is thought to be fellow RCA teacher Percy Horton who, in his letters to his family, described the Lake District as 'a superb spot' and 'inspiring in a big way'.

Real treasures

In partnership with The Public Catalogue Foundation (PCF), 'Your Paintings', will catalogue every oil painting in the national collection.

The collection contains about 200,000 works, in 3,000 galleries, museums, libraries and public institutions all over the country.

Crowd-source technology will be used to catalogue and classify the images.

Project manager, Diana Hare, said: "About 80% of paintings owned by the public are not on regular display.

"'Hidden Paintings' is an opportunity for us to rediscover some of the real treasures we own.

"Paintings can tell us so much about our history and culture. We can use them to unlock stories about the places where we live."

Hidden Paintings, featuring the Home Guard, will be broadcast on BBC One in the North East and Cumbria, at 2225 BST on Sunday 26 June 2011.

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