Located north of Lincoln on the A631 close to the junction with the A46 Hemswell Court is described by many as one of Lincolnshire's hidden treasures. The wedding, diner dance and conference facility is located in the Officers Mess buildings at the former Hemswell RAF base.
The owners of Hemswell Court are active partners in the Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire (AHL) aviation partnership, which is funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) award of £436,000. Hemswell Court's aviation credentials have recently been further enhanced with the addition of the 'RAF Collection of paintings by local Lincolnshire artist Gerard Bauer. These paintings were privately commissioned many years ago and are now in the custody of 31 Squadron Royal Air Force Association.
Earlier this year the Association concluded an agreement with the owners of Hemswell Court, to display the paintings in public for the first time in many years.
The 'RAF Collection' comprises a series of fifteen paintings depicting the progression of aircraft and their design from the Sopwith Pup through to the Harrier, twelve of which were used for a Calendar published in 1981 to raise funds for the publication of 31 Squadron Royal Air Force history “First in the Indian Skies.”
The same calendar was repeated for the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force and donated to the Battle of Britain Memorial flight in 2008. Gerard Bauer is a keen military historian and holds a private pilot licence.
Brothers, Tim and William Downing are proud that the 'RAF Collection' paintings have come to Hemswell Court particularly as one of the former Commanding Officers of RAF Hemswell was a Flight Commander on 31 Squadron thus making a very real historical link.
Thirteen of the paintings are displayed along the wall of the main corridor of the former Officers Mess building. The two largest paintings commemorate the three fighter types used in the Second World War, the Spitfire, Hurricane and Defiant (all of which were based with various units in Lincolnshire) and the Pathfinder Mosquito which led the numerous bombing raids over Germany.
The 'RAF Collection' is not seen as a glorification of War; but as a celebration of peace and the advancement of aviation that helped to maintain that peace in a very troubled world. Many people have already enjoyed these excellent oil paintings in their new and very appropriate surroundings at Hemswell Court and it is hoped that many more will do so in the coming months.