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Soper Collection explores other sites to unite family artwork

PUBLISHED: 15:15 15 January 2019

The launch last year for an education centre and art gallery for the Soper Collection Picture: GOODERHAM PR

The launch last year for an education centre and art gallery for the Soper Collection Picture: GOODERHAM PR

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The search is continuing for a purpose-built education centre and art gallery to house a renowned family art collection dedicated to rural life and the working horse in Suffolk after time ran out on raising money for an initial proposed site.

Harrowing by George Soper Picture: THE SOPER COLLECTIONHarrowing by George Soper Picture: THE SOPER COLLECTION

The Soper Collection comprises more than 700 original works of art by George Soper and his talented daughters Eileen and Eva.

An ambitious fundraising appeal was launched last year to showcase the collection on a dedicated site. And while time has run out on purchasing the initial land, just outside Lavenham, the project team has already identified and begun exploring alternative locations – while thanking the generous support they have received so far.

Speaking on behalf of The Soper Collection, Joy Baker said: “Due to the tight timeframe that was offered to us, we have been unable to raise the money to buy the proposed site for The Soper Collection Art Gallery and Education Centre at Brandeston Hall Farm Barns, outside Lavenham.

“However, we are very pleased to say that we have identified other possible opportunities to display The Soper Collection thanks to the wide exposure of the fundraising project and the involvement and enthusiasm of so many wonderful donors and interested parties.

Red Squirrel by Eileen Soper Picture: THE SOPER COLLECTIONRed Squirrel by Eileen Soper Picture: THE SOPER COLLECTION

“All donations, which have been most gratefully received, have been ringfenced for such further opportunity.

“We are exploring options and we will reveal our plans once they are confirmed. We are still very much focused on providing a permanent home for the collection and are very grateful for the continuing donations that are coming in to help us achieve our goal.”

The extensive Soper Collection consists of numerous works of art by George Soper dedicated to rural life and the working horse while Eileen was a famous illustrator for Enid Blyton, including all of the Famous Five books, and Eva’s porcelain bird figurines achieved strong recognition.

A fundraising appeal is ongoing to open up the collection to a wider audience through a purpose-built education centre and art gallery celebrating the family’s love of rural life and wildlife.

Kingfisher - porcelain figurine by Eva Soper Picture: THE SOPER COLLECTIONKingfisher - porcelain figurine by Eva Soper Picture: THE SOPER COLLECTION

The Soper Collection - which has been endorsed by the High Sheriff of Suffolk, George Vestey, and

backed by television and radio personality, Paul Heiney, who is an advocate for the preservation of working horses - was the brainchild of Joy Baker’s late husband, John, who became captivated by the work of the family 25 years ago.

The plans have also been backed by artist, author and founder of member of the Society of Wildlife artists, Robert Gillmor, who described the discovery of the Soper Collection as like “discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb.”

For more information on The Soper Collection visit http://www.thesopercollection.org or email enquiries@thesopercollection.org


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