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Can You Help Solve This Historical Hope Mystery?

These unique paintings of Hope’s Aigburth campus have been donated to the University by their generous owner.   

And the man kindly handing-over the pictures, John Coyne, has issued a plea to Hope’s alumni - asking ‘Do you know who painted them?’. 

John is a 70-year-old, semi-retired catering manager from Childwall, east Liverpool. 

And John’s late mother, Theresa Coyne, worked as an Assistant Domestic Bursar at Hope’s Aigburth Halls of Residence from the mid-70s until her retirement in 1984.

John believes the paintings were gifted to Theresa, who passed away in 2009, at some point in the 1980s before ultimately being handed down to him. 

paintings riddle 1

But he has no idea who created them, or the story behind their gifting to his Dublin-born mum, and would love to know more.

Speaking as he entrusts the images into Hope’s care, John says: “My mother had a long relationship with Hope, having first started working at one of the University’s founding institutions - Christ’s College - in 1965. 

“And she must have acquired these paintings at some point during her working life. 

“The only thing I know about them is that they depict the Hermitage and the Halls of Residence at Aigburth. One is by a ‘Jane’ and one is by a ‘Patricia’. And unfortunately I don’t know who these people are.

paintings riddle 2

“Perhaps they were students who were leaving University and who decided to do something nice and give them to mum. Or maybe the paintings were a gift at my mother’s retirement? 

“I’m really interested in my family’s history and it would be amazing to find out who painted these wonderful images and to shed some light on why they were given to mum. 

“We had the paintings in our house for some time but I thought it’d be a really nice touch for them to go back to the University and to be put on display.”

John has also shared treasured images of his mother, including snaps showing her retirement party in 1984 (see below). 

theres coyne 1

Speaking about Theresa’s vibrant personality, John, who is one of four sons born to Theresa and father John Snr, adds: “Mum came over to England from Dublin after the war, and she possessed a very strong personality. Formidable is a great word to describe her! 

theresa coyne 2

“She was also extremely professional, loyal, hard-working and took her job seriously. 

“She was thorough in what she did, took extensive notes, and seemed to be highly respected because of this diligent approach to her work life. 

“I hope she’s fondly remembered by much of the Hope family.”

** Are you ‘Patricia’ or ‘Jane’, the paintings’ creators, or do you perhaps know the history of the images? Please get in touch -

Published on 24/08/2021