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Museum receives donation of 1930s MacAskill photo of Pictou Bar lighthouse

Michelle Davey of the Northumberland Fisheries Museum shows off an original photograph of the Pictou Bar lighthouse that was donated to the museum in 2011.  The photo will be on display at the lighthouse museum on Caladh Avenue.
Michelle Davey of the Northumberland Fisheries Museum shows off an original photograph of the Pictou Bar lighthouse that was donated to the museum in 2011. The photo will be on display at the lighthouse museum on Caladh Avenue. - Sueann Musick

PICTOU –  An original photograph of a former landmark in the Town of Pictou has been donated to the Northumberland Fisheries Museum.

A Wallace MacAskill original photograph of the Pictou Bar Lighthouse was donated by Pat (Lynch) Brunel, a former Pictou resident currently living in Florida.

“While I’ve enjoyed having this photograph remind me daily of the lovely scenic coastline of Nova Scotia, I feel this picture should be returned to Pictou as it now bears special local and maritime significance,” Brunel said. “There are already residents in town who do not remember the lighthouse, and there are many more who are unaware there was at one time a keeper’s house. I felt that the historical value of the picture outweighed any possible monetary value of the piece.”

Michelle Davey of the Northumberland Fisheries Museum said the museum is thrilled to get the picture and will be displaying it at the Lighthouse Museum on Caladh Avenue.

She said it is a priceless gift to the museum because it shows a view of a lighthouse that is no  longer part of the county. The Pictou Bar Lighthouse was destroyed by fire July 5, 2004, ending 170 years of navigation for large and small vessels entering the outbound from Pictou Harbour. 

“I hope so many people will have a chance to view and appreciate this piece. MacAskill was a master at composition and his wife, also a photographer, was highly skilled at hand-tinting photographs. Beautifully done work obviously lasts a lifetime,” Brunel said.

Description:

Original dull, gold frame

Outside dimensions 21 ¾” X 17 ¾”

Visible photograph dimensions 13 ¼” X 10 ¼”

Original backing has been removed and replaced so that the original acidic paper did not compromise the intrinsic value of the art

Photograph of the Pictou Bar Light in the early 1930s – taken through birch trees

Hand pencilled title and photographer name

Entitled “Pictou Harbour”

Appraisal report (by Sherman Hines):

Not a rare subject; lighthouses are quite common.

Due to the attempt to lengthen the life of the photo, the value has been compromised although the original frame and mat is an asset. [Done by an American art restorer with acid-free materials].

Value > $110-150 as is – In original condition value is $125-165

Actually signed by Wallace MacAskill’s wife, Elva MacAskill. Wallace actually only signed 5-10 per cent of his sold images. Elva developed, printed, framed and sold the photos.

Priceless value to the community because of its community connection and the fact that the original Pictou Bar Lighthouse no longer exists. Invaluable community asset.

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