A plan to draw aline under the controversy that engulfed Montrose’s William Lamb studio during a summer of discontent has been rubber stamped by councillors.
The row over the running of the small studio gifted to the town by the talented artist had led to divisions between the Friends of William Lamb and Angus Council’s arms’ length culture body over the future of the attraction.
The loss of vital financial support led to its closure during what the volunteer Friends group had hoped would be a bumper 40th anniversary season, but support for the group has surged in the wake of the dispute over the studio’s future.
And celebration plans are now back on the agenda following agreement over a way forward which was backed by members of Angus Council’s policy and resources committee this week.
Under the new arrangement, culture and leisure trust Angus Alive will continue to care for and manage the collection of William Lamb and the council’s infrastructure department will manage the property.
There will be close liaison between the authority and the Friends group, who will be responsible for opening and closing the venue, as well as organising all events at the internationally-recognised studio.
The Friends will also take the lead in efforts to retain the studio’s accredited museum status, with support from the culture body.
Approval of the agreement coincided with the second successful William Lamb walk to be held this year, which focused on the impact of war on the artist’s life and work.
Lamb was wounded in action three times during the First World War but became a leading member of the Scottish Cultural Renaissance launched from Montrose in the 1920s.
The sculptor’s right hand was incapacitated, forcing him to relearn his craft with his left.
He died penniless in 1951, but bequeathed his studio and rich legacy of works to the town.
Montrose Conservative councillor Ron Sturrock said: “We have had quite a few months discussing this.
“It is pleasing to see a list of proposals that I believe are acceptable and provide the studio with a more secure footing.
“It is nice to draw a line under this particular topic,” he added.
Friends chair Norman Atkinson said he welcomed Angus Alive taking on responsibility for the collection, and the maintenance burden being taken on by the authority.
“Group members have received training from Angus Alive, and we can cascade this training down to other members,” he said.
“There are now 140 members of the Friends of William Lamb Studio, and we are raring to go.”