Illustrator is helping to preserve and celebrate Grantham’s past

Richard Coppin created all of the art work for the information board.
Richard Coppin created all of the art work for the information board.
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GRAPHIC artist Richard Coppin will see his illustrations of Grantham’s history live on for generations thanks to a series of information boards which have been unveiled throughout the town.

So far the Grantham Civic Society boards have been unveiled at the conduit in the Market Place and at St Wulfram’s church.

Richard Coppin's Guildhall piece will be central to the St Peter's Hill information board.

Richard Coppin's Guildhall piece will be central to the St Peter's Hill information board.

The next will possibly be the most high-profile yet once it is unveiled in St Peter’s Hill.

Richard, who lives in Westerdale Road in Grantham, said it has been a pleasure to work on the project - if a little stressful at times.

He said: “It’s been a joy to be asked to do it and a joy to see it finished but when the pen’s in your hand it’s like your on stage and you can’t make a mistake.

“It’s like your performing, from an artistic point of view. But it’s really fun to work on - it’s been an absolute pleasure.

The Mail Coach.

The Mail Coach.

“After a while you get used to the fact you are doing a picture where no mistake can be made.

“All the way through I think ‘this could be the one that goes really wrong’. But if you don’t think like that then you can be too blasé.

“I have to have that thought that I might be on the edge of disaster!”

The centre-piece of the latest information board will be Richard’s depiction of the Guildhall and the damage it sustained during a storm in the 1960s.

Richard worked solidly on his depiction of the Guildhall for six days.

He said: “It’s been really interesting to work on the Guildhall, without a shadow of a doubt. From an artistic point of view it’s an intriguing building that’s very difficult to get right.”

Also featured on the information board, which also celebrates the work of Grantham’s Rotarians, will be portraits of William Stukeley and Rotarian Paul Harris.

Richard found the portraits to be the most difficult part of the work.

He said: “What I find most challenging are the portraits. With a building, if you get something slightly wrong, it is still clear which building it is but with a portrait if you get something slightly wrong it changes the face completely.

“Whenever I’m asked to do portraits I hold my breath when I do them because I know there’s no room for error.”

It is not yet clear whether there will be yet more sign boards to come, with talk of one to celebrate Grantham industrial heritage.

But Richard hopes those he has contributed to so far will prove popular and be maintained for many years to come.

He said: “I get a lot of satisfaction from the idea that, hopefully, they will be here a long time after I’m gone. That’s the nice thing about it.

“In a way, once they are done it’s over and the only involvement I have is watching people look at them.

“It’s nice to see because then I know they are really doing their job.”