Artist’s sketch returns to church

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A drawing created 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 (pictured left with churchwarden Trevor Bush) explained that, following Gerald’s recent death and burial in Cranwell churchyard, it seemed a good idea to present the picture to St Andrew’s 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,” he added.