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80-year-old painting can only be viewed by private arrangement in back room
A WOMAN who used to model for a town artist has called for a painting which has been out of public view for 15 years to be returned to its original home.
Betty Collings wants Malvern Theatres to move the artwork by Victor Moody from a private back room to the venue’s foyer so more people can enjoy it.
The 82-year-old, who used to pose nude for Moody, says the painting is of great signifance to the town as it features seven people, including George Bernard Shaw, who helped set up the Malvern Festival.
Theatre bosses have since said they are “unable to guarantee its security”, although they stress the 80-year-old artwork may be viewed by private arrangement.
“It used to be in the foyer about 15 years ago before they did the beautification work there,” said Mrs Coll-ings, who lives in Pickersleigh Grove.
“I was told the theatre didn’t want that sort of thing on the wall because it is old-fashioned.”
The painting is thought to have been produced about 1930 and, says Mrs Collings, has recently been out on loan.
“I saw it about two or three months ago,” she says.
“I was at a University of the Third Age (U3A) meeting in the theatre’s cinema when another member asked me if I wanted to see it.
“We went in to a small room where it was hanging on the wall. My eyes filled up because I thought I would never see it again.
“I was led to believe discussions would take place about its return in January this year, but it’s now October.”
Mrs Collings said she has a very personal reason for wishing the painting to be returned to public view.
“I knew the family because I used to model for him in the nude,” she says.
“He was a lovely man, a real gentleman who made a great difference to my life.
“I left school very young, at the age of 13, but after talking to him [Victor Moody], I went to night-school, did a couple of O-Levels and got a degree through the Open University.”
Moody, who lived in Mal-vern, died in 1990 aged 94.
Malvern Theatres chief executive Nic Lloyd said: “The Victor Moody painting is not currently on public display in the theatre because we are unable to guarantee its security.
“Instead, the painting is hung in a non-public area of the building and may be viewed by arrangement.”
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