Two major paintings have been added to the Barker collection at Pontypool Museum. The new works, by Benjamin Barker and his son Thomas Barker, were purchased for £43,000 with the help of a Lottery grant.

"I hope that the new paintings will highlight to everyone the importance of these Pontypool artists in the history of British art," said Debbie Wildgust, curator.

"The museum plans to maximise access locally and nationally, to the works of Benjamin and Thomas Barker, their place in history of British Art and their contemporary world of Pontypool as the Welsh cradle of industry," said Debbie.

"We are planning some extra events alongside the normal schedule of exhibition and events for 2008, to show and promote the works of these artists.

Throughout the year and particularly during Museums and Galleries Month in May, the museum will be offering free family art-based sessions during school holidays, free art and photography sessions in landscape for local people and a special lecture by a London-based art critic on the role of these artists in 18th century art," said Debbie.

The two new Barker paintings are now in position in the Barker Gallery at the museum, alongside other examples of the Barkers' art.

The museum also has on display in the gallery The Woodman and his Dog, a large oil painting by Thomas Barker. This was presented to Pontypool in 1958 by Sir Richard Hanbury Tenison, so the new year is the 50th anniversary of that presentation.