Blue plaque to commemorate Louth painter

​A blue plaque will be unveiled next month to commemorate the creator of the Louth Panorama.
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William Brown painted the unique 360-degree Panorama after climbing scaffolding to the top of St James’ Church spire, which was being repaired having been struck by lightning, in 1844. He made seven small sketches of the town and surrounding area below and from those – over the next three years – painted the Panorama on two oil-on-linen canvasses each measuring nine-feet wide by six-feet high.

The Panorama gives a bird’s eye view of the town and surrounding area, framed in the time warp of a busy sunny day, complete with pictures of local people going about their daily business.

Dr Richard Gurnham, president of Louth Civic Trust, which largely funded the plaque, said: ‘It is surprising that, while the Panorama is displayed in the old Sessions House, in Eastgate, and there’s a reproduction in the museum, until now there has been no official acknowledgement of Brown in Louth. He lived in a small house at the Northgate end of Vickers Lane from around 1837 to 1854, during which time he painted the Panorama, so it seems fitting to have the plaque there.”

Creator of the Louth Panorama, William Brown. Image: Richard KeebleCreator of the Louth Panorama, William Brown. Image: Richard Keeble
Creator of the Louth Panorama, William Brown. Image: Richard Keeble

The house itself was demolished in the 1970s to make way for a block of flats.

The Panorama was exhibited in Louth Mansion House in 1847 and again in 1856 in the Corn Exchange, after Brown updated the painting to include newly-built buildings such as the Town Hall.

Brown, a Methodist preacher, interior decorator, house painter and citizen journalist for the Stamford Mercury died in 1859. He was buried in a pauper’s grave in the town’s London Road cemetery and, thereafter, was largely forgotten. The Panorama too was lost. However, it was discovered, only by chance, in Alford in 1948 and was then purchased by the town, with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund.

​The plaque commemorating William Brown will be unveiled by Louth Mayor, Julia Simmons at 11am on Friday February 9. ​Chris Owen and Scott Stout, from Platform Housing Group, owner of the flats, will also be present at the unveiling, along with other local dignitaries.