Long lost drawing presented to Cranwell Village Church

John Bangay presents the commemorative Gertrude Reed drawing to churchwarden Trevor Bush during Sundays harvest festival service in
the church. EMN-171010-115434001
John Bangay presents the commemorative Gertrude Reed drawing to churchwarden Trevor Bush during Sundays harvest festival service in the church. EMN-171010-115434001

A drawing done during the Second World war by American artist Gertrude Reed has been presented to Cranwell Village Church.

The delicate pen and pencil drawing was done during Gertrude’s time living in an isolated woodland cottage near the village, while her husband was stationed at nearby RAF Cranwell.

She presented the drawing to churchwarden Marjorie Bangay before Gertrude returned to America.

Marjorie’s younger son, John, also an artist, discovered the drawing among his late mother’s papers.

“During the war mother used to walk across the fields and have tea with Gertrude and watch her working in her studio,” said John. “Sometimes

she would take her first son, Gerald (Joe) with her.”

John explained that, following Gerald’s recent death and burial in Cranwell churchyard, it seemed a good idea to present the picture to the

church, with a dedication to Joe, written on the mount by artist-calligrapher, Debbie James. It commemorates his brother’s return to rest near his mother and father in the village where he grew up.

“Wood Cottage has been completely demolished and no trace of it remains, although, as a child, I used to listen to the nightingales singing

in the ruins,” John explained, “Even as a ruin it was a magical place, as if Gertrude’s spirit lived on there.”

The picture will hang in St Andrew’s church.