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FAMILY SO PROUD AS ARTIST’S PAINTING OF PARK FEATURES
Manchester Evening News, UK
Nov 25 2014Marie Gumuchian’s picture of Peel Park has been used on new
entrance signs – 53 years after she painted it
She painted it in the winter of 1961.
But 53 years later a picture of England’s oldest municipal park
by Manchester-born artist Margaret Gumuchian has gone on permanent
Her work captures Peel Park, next to Salford Museum and Art Gallery,
which also inspired LS Lowry.
Now the painting has been reproduced on new entrance signs to the
park as councillors try to secure funding for a £2m refurbishment of
the facility which opened in 1846.
The original painting is being exhibited at the museum.
Margaret’s daughter Iseabal Smith and her sister Marie Gumuchian were
at the park for the unveiling of the sign version of the painting.
Another historic painting, Peel Park by H. Dorning, also held by the
art gallery, is also being used on the new entrance signs.
Coun Gena Merrett, assistant mayor for housing and environment at
Salford council, said: “The park opened in 1846 but we’re working
with the Friends of Peel Park to restore it to its 1890s glory.
“We’ve had a grant of £54,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big
Lottery Fund to research the history of the park and when we saw the
two paintings, we thought it would be wonderful to include them in
new entrance signs.
“Iseabal and Marie were delighted to hear that and we thought they
would appreciate seeing the signs for themselves.”
Margaret Gumuchian was born in Rusholme in June 1927 to Armenian
parents and studied at Manchester School of Art.
During the late 1950s, she taught painting at evening classes in
She also taught at a number of schools in and around Manchester,
including Withington Girls’ School during the late 1960s.
Margaret exhibited at the Manchester Academy, Manchester City Art
Gallery and Royal Academy and many more private exhibitions. She died
Iseabal Smith, 59, a former television make up artist at BBC and
Granada, who now runs a B&B in New Mills, Derbyshire, said seeing
the sign was ‘quite emotional’.
She added: “It was painted in 1961 and I remember seeing it in the
house. It’s typical of mum’s work with stark trees. She presented the
painting to Manchester Corporation in 1962 in memory of her father
Leon Gumuchian, so he must have had some connection with the park.
“She was an artist all her life and painted what she saw. She worked
in watercolour and gouache and taught in all the girls schools around
Marie Gumuchian, 87, Margaret’s older sister, said: “I think she
would be amazed at seeing this. I’m very proud of her.”
Margaret originally trained as a teacher but switched to the art
school. She married her tutor Ian Grant in 1953. He was a accomplished
landscape and portrait painter and art historian.