Local collectors donate portrait of John Lambton to Gallery

First Earl of Durham was a proponent of responsible government in his role as high commissioner

While John Lambton has few fans in French Canada—largely because of his assimilation policies in the 1830s—the First Earl of Durham, British North America’s high commissioner is respected for encouraging responsible government.

And now a portrait of Lambton, painted by renowned Scottish portraiture artist Sir Francis Grant in 1842, has made its way “home” thanks to a donation by local collectors Scott Ferguson (pictured at front right) and Ron Van Horne.

Lisa Daniels, curator of the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery (and pictured at left), formally accepted the donation at a meeting of Lambton County Council on Wednesday.

Ferguson and Van Horne had bought the portrait at an auction in Toronto some six months ago, facing off against museums also vying for the piece of art. “It was a great piece,” said Van Horne, who is the County’s chief administrative officer. “We bid on it for over half of an hour, which is a great amount of time for a single piece.”

The same artist was also known for producing portraits of Queen Victoria and other British aristocrats.

The donation also came with a $10,000 cash gift which will be used for future art acquisitions.

Daniels said the gallery was “thrilled” with the donation.

County Warden Bev MacDougall told her fellow Councillors that the value of the gift “should not be underestimated.”

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