The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum is urging the public to help raise the final funds in a £12,000 bid to save one of the oldest albums of artwork illustrating the city.
The Coventry Album, made by celebrated painter William Brooke in 1819, is considered one of the most vital collections of images of the historic city, providing new information and perspective on buildings and streets. Having succeeded in an eight-month campaign to buy it, the gallery now needs £500 to pay for its display.
“We've raised enough money to buy the album and keep it in Coventry, which is an amazing achievement,” said Senior Curator Martin Roberts, who is hoping to include the album in the major Watercolours exhibition planned for the Herbert in 2012.
“This final £500 will be the culmination of everything as it'll mean that all the people who have donated or shown an interest will get to see what it is that they've helped to buy.
“For every person who has given money, from £5 to £1,000, we want to say thank you. It's their support that has allowed us to save this important piece of Coventry history."
The scenes pictured in the album feature a number of long-forgotten buildings. The undercroft of one of the demolished properties, on Bailey Lane, can still be reached from the Herbert.
Brooke’s works, which are held by the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery and the National Museum of Wales, are consistently used by local historians and archaeologists to pinpoint the changing layout of towns and landscapes.