Arts society donates book on Shropshire's country houses to county libraries

The county's art society has donated copies of The Country Houses of Shropshire to six libraries.

David Franklin with arts society member Phoebe Nattrass
David Franklin with arts society member Phoebe Nattrass

Gareth Williams, curator at Weston Park, has recently published The Country Houses of Shropshire with Boydell Press. The Arts Society Wrekin members and guests enjoyed a virtual lecture on Zoom about the book earlier this year.

They heard about a few of the 347 houses featured and some of the fascinating stories about the owners and their families, their artistic tastes and estates. It has 760 pages, 690 illustrations and represents 25 years of research by Gareth.

The Arts Society Wrekin was keen that its members and the wider public should have access to the book and so donated six books for the benefit of the local community.

David Oxtoby presenting the book to Anwen Arthur, library assistant at Bridgnorth

It can be found in the ‘Reference’ section of the libraries at Albrighton, Bridgnorth, Newport, Wellington and also in Brewood and Tettenhall.

Members of the society wanted other people to be able to access the book and all its wonders, said David Franklin, who recently stepped down as chair of The Arts Society Wrekin but who had worked on the project.

He said: "Gareth Williams, curator at Weston Park, recently gave a stunning lecture on his recent book, The Country Houses of Shropshire, to 140 members and guests of the Arts Society Wrekin via Zoom.

"Gareth gave his time free, but we asked for donations. After we had made a substantial donation to the Weston Park Foundation for educational purposes, we elected to donate copies of the book to several local libraries, to enable everyone in the area to enjoy this outstanding book. And you never know, it may even encourage more people to join The Arts Society Wrekin!"

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