Plymouth Building its Future

large canvas at Devonport Guildhall

This painting, specially commissioned in 1977, features (to the left) prominent architects and engineers responsible for some of Plymouth’s major building enterprises. Isambard Kingdom Brunel built the Royal Albert Bridge linking Plymouth to Cornwall by rail in 1859; John Foulston (foreground) designed many of Plymouth’s public and private buildings between 1810 and 1830; Sir Patrick Abercrombie, the Town Planner and co-author of the ‘Plan for Plymouth’ (1943), and its other author, J. Paton Watson, Plymouth City Engineer and Surveyor, who designed much of the post-war city centre.

In the background are many of the city’s landmarks, including (left to right): the Royal Citadel gates, Smeaton’s Tower lighthouse, the modern Civic Centre, Derry’s Clock (door), Boehm’s statue of Sir Francis Drake, the Naval War Memorial, the Virgin with Child sculpture outside the Guildhall, Foulston’s Devonport Column (a viewing platform adjacent to the Devonport Town Hall).

To the right we see the dispossessed whom civic progress has overlooked: Lenkiewicz, with a note around his neck reminding him to hurry up and finish the painting, and Myriam Rivera to his left; the vagrants ‘Wee Jock’, Diogenes, Dave Helingoe, Eugene, Bill, Cockney Jim and Bishop.

Public collection: 
Plymouth City Museum & Gallery


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