New Exhibition in Da Gadderie - Thomas Woore

by Deborah Leggate -

Shetland Museum and Archives is hosting an unusual and unique exhibition of watercolours by a young Irishman who visited Shetland in 1828. 

Thomas Woore (1804 – 1878) was born in Londonderry, and joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman in 1819. Nine years later he took command of the Woodlark, a cutter which was then engaged on a hydrographic survey of Shetland. For the next six months he served under the larger-than-life George Thomas, who was in charge of the survey as a whole.

Woore found plenty of time for art while he was in Shetland. In the course of his duties on the survey he put ashore every now and again with his sketchbook, and produced fine paintings of scenes and buildings all over the islands. The current exhibition comprises 24 examples of his best work.

The colours in the images are still vibrant and the attention to detail is captivating. We see the Woodlark lying in Symbister harbour; the new Church of Scotland in Lerwick, just being completed; sixerns in St Magnus Bay; a view over Scalloway harbour and many more.  

Thomas Woore emigrated to Australia soon after his tour of duty in the islands. He took his sketchbook with him, and nobody here has seen his Shetland drawings from that day to this. 

Woore's sketchbook has survived in the hands of descendants in Australia, and Mrs Prue Heath, who owns the collection, has kindly given permission for this exhibition to take place.

The framed prints in Da Gadderie will be available for sale. A limited edition collection of all 24 prints will be available from Shetland Museum and Archives Gift Shop, in additional to a selection of A3 mounted prints.

Further to the exhibition, Dr Ian Tait will give an informal Gallery talk on Saturday 3rd December at 2.00pm.  Dr Tait will discuss the works of Lieutenant Thomas Woore before the ShantY Yellmen take to the floor to perform a selection of lively sea shanties to celebrate the exhibition.  Both events are free to attend on a drop-in basis.