COMPTON Verney is preparing to create a new gallery to house its important British Folk Art collection following a surprise bequest from a devoted visitor.
The county house near Wellesbourne has been left £27,000 by the late Elizabeth Coxon, who regularly travelled from her home in Worcester to visit her ‘favourite art gallery’ before she succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2016.
Compton Verney head of development Alice Gosling said: “Miss Coxon was not known to us personally, but she has created history by being the first person to leave us a legacy.
“Her generous bequest will be crucial to making sure our new Folk Art galleries are as effective and attractive as the Chinese galleries. It was only when we were contacted by one of the executors of Liz’s estate that we hear about her lovely gift.
“It is testimony to the talented teams who plan and deliver our exhibitions and collections behind the scenes and the friendly, welcoming atmosphere created by all our front of house and catering staff that she enjoyed visiting us so frequently and was inspired to kindly include us in her will.”
Susan Sharp explained her friend’s decision to make the bequeath.
She said: “Liz visited on a very regular basis and always thoroughly enjoyed herself. Her great interest in learning and the pupils she taught makes Compton Verney’s use of the money most appropriate. I look forward to visiting the British Folk Art display once the new gallery is complete.”
“Liz always maintained that she had been very lucky in her life despite leaving us at only 69 years of age.
On leaving school Miss Coxon, known to friends as Liz, trained to be a teacher and after many years in primary teaching she specialised in special needs for the rest of her career.
Susan added: “She was very much an ‘Art’ person and liked to sketch, paint and enjoyed ceramic craft work. She was also a very keen gardener, designing and building her back garden from scratch, then sending us all photos of her beautiful displays through the seasons.
“Living in Worcester for her last 20 years, Liz regularly visited Compton Verney enjoying both the house and the grounds and the art work on show. In fact, she booked a motor scooter to go around the grounds with her friends shortly before her death, as it was always a favourite destination. She wanted her bequest to make a difference to other people’s lives, particularly those less fortunate than herself.”
Visit www.comptonverney.org.uk for more details on what’s on at the gallery.