NORFOLK Museums Service
Seahenge Display

Lynn Museum Volunteers

Digital Collections Volunteers

The volunteer team at Lynn Museum have completed the mammoth task of digitalising over 1,000 drawings of local scenes by King’s Lynn artist Henry Baines (1823 - 1894).

Lynn Museum collections digitalisation team is made up of eight enthusiastic volunteers who spend three hours every Monday and Wednesday in the museum offices. Since October 2013 the sociable team have been working on a project to improve access to the museums fascinating collection of drawings.

The museum has over 1,000 of Henry Baines’ drawings and the volunteer team have been working systematically through each drawing updating the museum catalogue and carefully scanning the pictures.

The enthusiastic team are now moving on to a project to digitalise a collection of Walter Dexter drawings. We are currently looking for more volunteers to join our sociable team. Volunteers meet 10am - 1pm Wednesdays all year and Thursdays 10am - 1pm April to October, contact us for details.

Volunteer Jon Woodcock’s thoughts on Henry Baines

“Before I began volunteering at King’s Lynn Museum I knew very little about the local Victorian artist Henry Baines. However, having been one of the volunteer team who have been scanning his large collection of drawings, I now realise his considerable skill and talent, and how much he seems to have been undeservedly overlooked. His hundreds of sketches are a treasure trove of local and artistic interest.

The sketches of Henry Baines cover a wide range of subjects – buildings in King’s Lynn and the surrounding area, boats of all shapes and sizes, many detailed cloud studies, animals, local people and events, coastal and rural scenes, copies of other artists’ work, and sketches from his travels further afield. Not only do we have the drawings themselves, but he was meticulous, almost obsessive, about adding extra written detail. He often would include many notes describing the effects of light, colour and weather.

Some of my favourite drawings are of the sea and boats. There are a fascinating range of boats of all shapes and sizes, from fishing boats to square-rigged ships to paddle-steamers and wrecks. In 1869 he attended the opening of the Alexandra Dock in King’s Lynn, where he recorded many details of the event, including a wonderful drawing of the steamship ‘Mary’ of London bedecked with flags, which carried the Prince and Princess of Wales on that occasion.

His interest in boats and the sea led him to record coastal scenery, either in Norfolk or further afield. There are a number of drawings of Hunstanton, some of which show the paddle-steamers ‘May’ and ‘Spindrift’ on day excursions to Hunstanton from Skegness in the 1880’s. In August 1887 he appears to have spent a holiday exploring the north-east coast of County Durham.

The time I’ve spent volunteering ‘with’ Henry Baines has been fascinating, and whetted my appetite. I just wonder what other interesting material may still be hidden away somewhere in a dusty attic in Norfolk . . . maybe a bundle of his letters or diaries? . . . now that would be a whole new project!”

Some of the volunteers’ favourite drawings

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If you are interested in volunteering with Lynn Museum please contact lynnmuseum@norfolk.gov.uk or on 01553 775001.

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Did not realise there was such a great museum on our doorstep. Brilliant!