A GROUP of card players have dealt a helping hand in funding the restoration of an important painting at Lydiard House.

The Huntsman and Dogs, by Dutch artist Adrien de Gryef, is now back on display in the Swindon Council-owned stately home after the Swindon Bridge Society raised £1,200 from a tournament, which was then donated to Lydiard House to pay for the painting’s conservation.

The painting shows a group of hunting dogs in a landscape. It was one of two paintings given to Lydiard House in the 1970s by Captain Goddard, whose family used to live at The Lawns, in Old Town.

The bridge tournament was held in Lydiard House’s grand hall last spring and the painting has undergone meticulous restoration including cleaning and stretching by experienced conserv- ators Bush and Berry.

The painting’s carved gilt frame was also repaired during the work.

Sophie Cummings, collection manager at Lydiard House, said: “We are grateful for the support and generosity of Swindon’s bridge players.

“Their donation has made it possible for us to conserve this wonderful painting for all our visitors to enjoy.”

Katarina McGarel-Groves, of the Swindon Bridge Society, said it had been a fantastic event.

“Nearly 80 bridge enthusiasts had the unique experience of playing a tournament in the beautiful surroundings of Lydiard House and in the process were delighted to raise funds towards the restoration of this lovely painting,” she said.

The Hunts-man and Dogs painting is now back on display in the rear hall of Lydiard House for visitors to enjoy.

Coun Garry Perkins, cabinet member for regeneration and culture, said: “I am delighted this important painting has been brought back to life and is now back on display.

“I would like to thank the Swindon Bridge Society for raising the money and preserving an important part of our wonderful collection at Lydiard House.”

Lydiard House is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm.

Admission to the house costs £3.50 for adults, £3 for seniors and £1.75 for children.

Under fives go free and family tickets are available.

The House will be closed to visitors from until Feburary 2 to enable a deep spring clean of the State Rooms.