Bushey Museum art curator dies of old age at 93



The first art curator in a museum died of natural causes at the age of 93.

Anne Blessley was appointed to the very first post of Art Curator at the Bushey Museum from the founding of the museum, becoming an expert on Hubert von Herkomer, his art and his imitators.

Born in Stanmore, Mrs. Blessley was a student at St Joseph’s Convent School in Hendon. She then joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1942.

After the war, she returned to Coutts Bank where she met her husband Donald Blessley.

In 1971 the couple moved to Bushey where she set up a WEA art appreciation course.

In 1985 she founded the Friends of Bushey Museum and in 2005 she was elected President of the Friends.

Ms Blessley was a steward of the museum, an administrator of the Bushey Museum as well as Friends and continued in these activities until she was over 90 years old.

Most of the images that the museum acquires through sale or auction are funded by the Friends of the Bushey Museum, but sometimes this is beyond the means of the friends and the museum must seek help from the art fund. or the V&A purchase fund.

In such cases, it was Ms Blessley’s responsibility to inspect and assess the image, and draft a compelling fundraising request – often just days before an auction.

Without Anne’s qualified contribution, they would not have been able to purchase these works.

Shelley Tickell, Bushey Museum, said: “Anne was the instigator and contributor to the Millennium Embroidery, also featured in this exhibit.

“She was the museum administrator, also founder and (for two years) president of the Friends of Bushey Museum and later its president.

“She will be sadly missed for her energy and enthusiasm, which she kept until the end, as well as for her extensive knowledge.”


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