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The Man of the House: Students seek to restore painting of Charles Walton

 

 

 

Many students are aware that Eastern’s grounds were once owned by the Charles Walton family, but little else is known about the man who holds a large place in Eastern’s history. That’s about to change. A team of students have a plan to preserve Walton’s legacy by restoring a 100 year-old painting of him for all the campus to see.

A group of Eastern students had the idea to restore the painting after it was found on a stairwell in Walton Hall. “We all agreed that this was no place for such a portrait,” said Eastern student Russell Risden. Risden decided to head the restoration process and went to Vice President of Student Development Bettie Ann Brigham, who will oversee the process.

The painting is marked and full of holes, which begs the question: how do a bunch of college students know how to restore a painting? The simple answer is that they don’t, which is why they called a professional. All in all, the cost for repair and retouching estimates at $2,800.

The process will take four months to complete. “The restoration is a costly and very lengthy process,” said Risden. A second canvas will be attached to the original, repairs will be made, and finally the canvas will be stretched and fitted back into the frame. The team plans to fundraise for the cost of the restoration; this is where Eastern’s community will be called to action. “The more people willing to become a part of it, the more successful it will be. We definitely need the support of students and faculty to pull this off,” said Risden. When the restoration is complete, an unveiling ceremony will be held and the painting will be placed in a prominent area of Walton Hall.

For Risden, restoring Walton’s painting means preserving the memory of a man who has greatly influenced our school. “Mr. Walton embodied the ideas of Eastern: faith, reason, and justice. He founded a charity, held bible studies, aided needy children, and founded a church, among so many other accomplishments. His painting should be restored and hung up so that students and faculty can appreciate the rich history of Eastern,” said Risden. Restoration team member Kevin Brown adds, “History teaches us lessons that have already been learned and allows us to learn and grow from them.”

The painting also stands as a tribute to Walton Hall. “If Charles Walton had not worked hard to develop his company in Philadelphia and had he not decided to build a summer home for his family here in St. Davids, we would not have this beautiful building to work, play, and study in,” said Brigham.

More than anything, the restoration team hopes that by restoring the painting, a piece of Eastern’s history will not be forgotten. “Maybe by preserving the painting,” said Risden, “we can stop this from happening, and preserve the legacy of an incredible person.”

If interested in the restoration process, contact Russell Risden at rrisden@eastern.edu.

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