Maldon Town Mayor’s artworks to be auctioned at fundraising Steam Tug Brent exhibition in St Mary’s Church

By Ben Shahrabi

11th Jul 2023 | Local News

The Steam Tug Brent Art Show will feature 40 artworks created by local entrants, including six works by the Maldon Town Mayor to be sold at auction to raise funds for the Brent's upkeep. (Photos: Ben Shahrabi)
The Steam Tug Brent Art Show will feature 40 artworks created by local entrants, including six works by the Maldon Town Mayor to be sold at auction to raise funds for the Brent's upkeep. (Photos: Ben Shahrabi)

An exhibition of locally made artworks celebrating the Steam Tug Brent is set to open on Wednesday (July 12), with pieces by the Maldon Mayor up for auction.

Held at St Mary's Church, the Steam Tug Brent Art Show will see art produced by amateurs and professionals in the Maldon District and further afield. 40 pieces have been submitted by a diverse range of entrants, including local children and the Maldon Pioneers Association.

Opening times for the exhibition can be found below:

  • Wednesday 12 and Thursday 13 July: 10.30am until 4.30pm
  • Friday 14 July: 12 noon until 4.30pm
  • Saturday 15 July: 10.30am until 4.30pm
  • Sunday 16 July: 12.30pm until 4.30pm

Town Mayor Andrew Lay told Nub News he wanted to create pieces that were "simple but recognisable".

The six pieces produced by the Mayor feature inspiration from Pink Floyd, The Sex Pistols, and expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, among others – all based on the Brent and her Maldon connections.

His artworks will be auctioned off in a sealed bid auction, conducted via the Steam Tug Brent Trust's Facebook page, over the next couple of months. The deadline for bidding will be in late October.

Janet Hall, Chair of the Steam Tug Brent Trust, told Nub News she was grateful for the Mayor's support.

She said: "To do just one piece would have been a good token of goodwill towards the Brent.

"But doing six is going above and beyond – with a wonderful sense of humour behind them all."

Janet has been part of the Maldon community for nearly 70 years. She says she moved to Maldon aged 16 and immediately fell in love with the historic sailing barges.

"As a student, I had pictures of steam tugs instead of pin-ups," Janet recalls.

A love for commercial sailing craft was a passion she shared with her late husband, Ron.

Steam tugs were used in the London docklands to transport cargo between the ships and dockside wharfs. By 1971, the Port of London Authority was in the process of scrapping almost all of them. Brent was the last of her kind, but she was heading for the shipbreakers' yard.

By chance, Ron came across the Brent and the couple decided to rescue her from being scrapped.

"Brent is the quintessential tugboat – she looks almost like a child's bathtub toy", Janet says.

The exhibition will run until this Sunday (July 16). More information can be found below.

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