The Man Who Named Southport: Restored Portrait goes on display in Exhibition at The Atkinson
A portrait of Dr Miles Barton, the man who named Southport, is now on display at The Atkinson after being restored. Barton was well known as the owner of ‘the Ormskirk cure’ a remedy for rabies popular in the 18th century.
Miles Barton is said to have christened Southport in 1798 with a bottle of a wine on a lively night out at the opening of ‘Duke’s Folly’, the new South Port Hotel owned by William ‘Old Duke’ Sutton.
In this recently restored painting dating from the early 1780s, Miles Barton is pictured with his family in front of Much Hoole Church. He had recently bought the patronage of the rectory for his oldest son Roger. A red squirrel, sat very prominently on a branch overhead, may be a reference to the Barton’s connections to another prominent local family the Blundells of Ince Blundell Hall, whose family crest features a squirrel.
The painting has been cleaned and relined by Harriet Owen Hughes and a new frame has been provided by the Arts Society of Southport. Stephen Whittle, Principal Manager at The Atkinson said, ‘We are really grateful to the Arts Society for helping us to get this painting back on display. It hasn’t been seen for decades because of its poor condition but it’s a really fascinating piece of Southport’s history. Miles Barton was an important early founder of Southport. He built a villa close to Duke’s Folly called Nile Cottage and became a great champion of the health benefits of sea bathing, helping to establish Southport as a major seaside resort.’
The painting is on display as part of ‘The Art of Noise’ exhibition until 16 March 2019. The exhibition is free entry and is on Monday to Saturday, 10am – 4pm
More details on the exhibition at www.theatkinson.co.uk