J Frank Walmsley (1876-1933)

J. Frank Walmesley

Frank Walmsley was the honorary secretary of the Art Gallery and Museum sub-committee from 1919 until his death in 1933. He was a cotton manufacturer, being managing director of Messrs. George Walmesley and Sons in Burnley, which was founded by his father. He had joined the sub-committee after his election as a councillor in 1917 but continued as a co-opted member after he retired from the council in 1923. There was a detailed obituary in the Burnley Express on January 14th, 1933, page 8 column 7.

Much of his correspondence survives in the museum archive including the exchange of letters between him and Walter Gilbert concerning the purchase of work by Alfred Gilbert.

Probably his most important contribution was to propose the purchase of antique furniture in 1924 after a loan collection from the V&A had been greatly admired. By the time of his death, furniture was on display in all the rooms of the Long Gallery and in the Family Dining Room and today the collection of antique furniture is still one of the most important of the museum's collections.

Author: tk - August 2016