Group aims to preserve piece of Maine history

Group trying to restore old portrait found in Portland City Hall

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- In 2013, some old paintings were found in the attic of Portland's City Hall. One of them is a portrait of William Pitt Fessenden, who served in the United States Congress and later as Secretary of the Treasury under Abraham Lincoln.

The painting was in bad shape, and the Maine Project for Fine Art Conservation is trying to restore it.

"It was kind of a search and rescue," Founding Director Bonnie Mattozzi said.

Mattozzi said the portrait is one of only two known portraits of Fessenden.

The team has made a lot of progress over the years, but Mattozzi said getting funding for the restoration has been difficult.

"That's kind of what held us back," Mattozzi said.

Mayor Ethan Strimling toured the organization's studio Friday. He is hoping the group can find the funding it needs to finish restoring the portrait. He said it's "incredibly important for people to understand our history and their importance."

When the project is done, the painting will likely be put up in City Hall.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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