A FAMOUS oil painting is to be donated to a Dorchester museum.

The Dorset Yeoman at Agagia, February 26 1916 by Elizabeth Southerden Thompson, Lady Butler is to hang proudly on the walls of the Keep Military Museum. 

The decision was made at Dorset County Council’s cabinet meeting on Wednesday. 

In late 1916, Colonel J.R.P. Goodden, a former commander of the Queen’s Own Dorset Yeomanry and leader of Dorset County Council, proposed the idea of a painting of one of the regiment’s battles as a memento of their First World War service. 

Elizabeth Southerden Thompson Butler, a world-famous battle artist of the late 19th and early 20th century, was commissioned to undertake the work and in 1918 it was given to Dorset County Council to be hung in the Shire Hall.

The picture now normally hangs in the members’ room at Dorset County Council offices.

In efforts to increase public access to the painting and allow it to be truly appreciated, it was recommended that the painting is transferred to the museum.

Councillors were presented with two options: a full transfer of legal title, which would essentially constitute a gift from DCC to the museum or a ten-year loan agreement - both would be governed by Arts Council Museum Accreditation standards for museums and galleries.

Cabinet members agreed the first option, and the painting will now be transferred to the museum.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Hilary Cox said: “It is an absolutely wonderful painting but it is entirely inappropriately misplaced at the moment – it needs to be in the museum where it can be fully appreciated.

“I wholeheartedly support this.”