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Museum appeal to find missing Lockgate paintings 

Culture and tourism

17 May 2022

Painting of lock keepers cottage near GaytonLockkeeper's House, top lock, near Gayton - one of the two missing paintings by John McGowan

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery is asking the public to help them trace the whereabouts of two paintings created by local artist John McGowan, in the hope that they can be included in an exhibition of his work at the museum in early 2023.

In 1980, McGowan created two paintings depicting scenes from Northamptonshire’s canals. The first work is a 5ft square acrylic on canvas showing the Lockkeepers House the top lock near Gayton, which was gifted to Mereway Upper School in Northampton and was last seen at the school in 2005, before it was demolished.

The second is a multi-frame oil on canvas measuring 20 inches square portraying lock gate 11 near Rothersthorpe which was sold at the 1980 Art Teacher’s Exhibition at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery.

Councillor Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure, said: “We need the public’s help to try and locate these delightful paintings, as the museum, the Canal and River Trust and Mr McGowan would love to include them in the upcoming exhibition.

“The exhibition will showcase his long career, with a particular focus on his works which depict the Northamptonshire canal network, so the paintings are also an interesting piece of local history.”

John McGowan has been making prints for over 50 years and after his retirement from teaching art at Oundle School he became a full-time printmaker. His works make up a distinctive part of Northampton Museum and Art Gallery’s print collection, with his views of Northamptonshire canals forming a key part of the art collection’s local scenes.

Other works reflect his interests in buildings, landscapes and industry, with a focus on his local area of Northborough near Market Deeping, as well as South Lincolnshire, Rotherhithe and Oundle.

Anyone with information on the location of these works is invited to contact Victoria Davies, Northampton Museum and Art Gallery’s Exhibitions Officer at [email protected] or 01604 837632.