Oil painting spared in the nick of time

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IT’S the sort of story they love on the Antiques Roadshow – the work of art rescued in the nick of time!

But that’s exactly what happened when Dean Raynor looked into a skip and pulled out a piece of South Yorkshire’s heritage.

Dean is commercial manager of SteelPhalt, a Rotherham firm manufacturing asphalt since the 1960s.

And it was during a refurbishment of the head office in Sheffield Road that he spotted a painting of the SteelPhalt site – in a skip.

The 1979 work, signed by the artist, acclaimed Sheffield painter Edward S Billin, shows how little SteelPhalt has changed over the years.

“I don’t know how it ended up in the skip but I am very pleased I spotted it,” said Dean.

The artist, who specialised in rural scenes, was born in Sheffield in 1911 and died in 1994. Another of his industrial paintings – a Vertical Wheel Mill from South Yorkshire’s industrial heyday – is owned by Rotherham Museums and Galleries.

“All I know about the SteelPhalt painting is it was commissioned by the then chairman,” said Dean.

“It’s probably worth only a few hundred pounds but the picture is valuable to the company.”