MEMORY LANE: New exhibition commemorates life of respected Buxton townsman Robert Brunt

Robert Brunt
Robert Brunt

A new exhibition which has opened at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery to mark 175 years of well dressing in the town will also commemorate the life of respected townsman and well dresser, Robert Brunt.

Born at the family home in Buxton in 1834, the seventh child of John and Silence Brunt, he was artistic, ambitious and extremely hard-working, employed initially as a labourer, and then as a painter, master painter and stationer and fancy goods retailer.

While working away in Manchester, he would find time to return to his home town, as in 1852 when he helped with his first well dressing. So began what would become a lifetime’s interest in the craft.

He had certainly found one outlet for his artistic talent because in 1862 he designed and, along with his family, organised the dressing of the St Ann’s Well.

The Advertiser of the day quoted it as being quite simple, less expensive, so more could be spent on outdoor amusements. The decoration was an arch with the motto ‘Cavendish Tutus’ with vases of doves and pelicans worked in white flowers.

From 1862 to 1906, Robert almost without exception designed and organised, with his helpers, the dressing of one of the town’s wells.

Great praise was given to their work, the originality of the designs and also to the size.

Robert also painted pictures of the local area - some of which will be on display during the exhibition at Buxton Museum.

He was also known for his woodwork creations and as a talented taxidermist.

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