Expat Lending Brush To Belle Vue Project

Artist Peter Rindlisbacher (left) and his daughter Victoria (right) tour the grounds of the Belle Vue House in Amherstburg in costume. (Photo courtesy Belle Vue Conservancy)

The effort to renovate the Belle Vue House in Amherstburg is getting a helping brush.

Respected Windsor-born artist and former Amherstburg resident Peter Rindlisbacher — now living in Texas — is donating a painting of the historic home to help the fundraising effort.

“It’s a subject that’s been near and dear to my heart for so many years. I’m so happy to support the effort itself,” says Rindlisbacher. “These buildings are so precious.”

Rindlisbacher has been commissioned by clients across North America. He is known for his historic naval portraits focusing on the War of 1812, and even had one of his paintings given as a gift to US President Barack Obama by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

In his painting, Rindlisbacher is looking to recreate what the home would have looked like after it was built between 1816 and 1819.

Artist Peter Rindlisbacher (left) and his daughter Victoria (right) tour the grounds of the Belle Vue House in Amherstburg in costume. (Photo courtesy Belle Vue Conservancy)

Artist Peter Rindlisbacher (left) and his daughter Victoria (right) tour the grounds of the Belle Vue House in Amherstburg in costume. (Photo courtesy Belle Vue Conservancy)

The painting is expected to be completed in the first few months of 2017.

Rindlisbacher sees the painting as a special project because a former resident of the home, 19th-century painter Catherine Reynolds, was a major artistic influence.

“Her work guided me over and over again on some of my attempts at painting Amherstburg,” says Rindlisbacher. “Certainly, it’s a thank you in a way for her guidance through history and helping me trying to get accuracy in my paintings.”

Amherstburg’s town council approved the purchase of the home for $1.1-million in September. The home had been left vacant and left to deteriorate as part of a plan to add new condominiums near the site under the previous ownership — a numbered corporation based in Windsor.

Supporters are now working to raise money to help restore the Belle Vue House which was declared a National Historic Site in 1959.

“These things, once they go down, you can’t replace them. You can build replicas and whatever, but the real McCoy — it’s just they’re so, so valuable,” says Rindlisbacher. “I consider it just the gem in Amherstburg’s crown.”

The National Trust for Canada had the house as one of its “top ten endangered places” prior to the town’s purchase.