The Night Watch

About 'The Night Watch' painting destroyed by fire

'The Night Watch' painting was inspired by Rembrandt's painting of the same name. The atmospheric lighting, or 'Rembrandt lighting' as it is also coincidentally known, inadvertantly creates a melancholic-looking atmosphere, giving the appearance of what appears to be an air of gloomy comtemplation. However, unlike Rembrant's portayal of mostly military men, Lenkiewicz depicts people who ‘look after’and are

‘responsible for’ the vulnerable in our society. Sitters for the painting were drawn from the social services and other care organisations concerned with people with learning difficulties

Originally the same size as Rembrandt’s painting (363 x 437 cm) before being cut to manageable size by the artist, The Night Watch was the centrepiece of the Mental Handicap Project in 1976 and was unveiled by Plymouth’s Lord Mayor, Arthur Floyd. Concealed behind a vast curtain at one end of the warehouse studio Jacob’s Ladder, on Plymouth's Barbican. This deliberately invoked the great unveiling scene in Alexander Korda’s 1936 film Rembrandt, which had first inspired Lenkiewicz to become a painter when he saw it on television as a boy.

Left to right: Dr Hans de Rijke; Superintendant Physiotherapist at the Trengweath Spastic Centre, Viv Sloaman; Ron Moore, headmaster at Mill Ford School; Dr David Owen, MP for Devonport and Minister for Health; Bernard Ashley, director of a skills training centre, ‘Cockney Jim’, a vagrant; Ken Young, Director of Social Services for West Devon.

Sadly, this painting was destroyed by fire along with several other Lenkiewicz paintings when a building they were housed in burnt down.

The 2012 fire at at Chilford Hall, Linton, Cambridgeshire was the result of an arson attack. Two men were later charged with arson.