Church of England celebrates murals of ‘national significance’ painted by pioneering female artist

Posted May 19, 2021

The Kitty Milroy murals in the chancel of St Mark’s Hale, Surrey, England, are symbols of the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement. Photo: Church of England

[Church of England] The Kitty Milroy murals in the chancel of St Mark’s Hale, Surrey, are an exceptional example of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Depicting the Annunciation, the Benedictine, and the Gospels, the murals also feature local scenes. Kitty, or Eleanor Catherine Wallace Milroy, lived locally in Farnham until 1920.

Some of the murals were last restored in the 1940s. It remains a mystery as to where Kitty trained, who commissioned, and who paid for the murals between 1911 and 1920.

Experts now believe the works of art to be of “national significance” due to their quality and their place within the development of women’s art. Mural conservationists Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede praised the works, which also echo contemporary Symbolist paintings.

Lesley Crawley, vicar of St Mark’s, said: “The church is a place of restoration and we are delighted that we get to play a part in the physical restoration of this beautiful artwork.

“Although it is of national significance, the local story is compelling and so many people have some connection to the mural, whether the painter or the models.

“St Mark’s is already a place to explore creativity with services where art and craft is available and online with monthly art at St Mark’s.

“We run a popular Lockdown Art Club and before the pandemic we ran regular art sessions where anyone could come and create.

“We also want to explore the benefits of art and craft for mental health, linking in with the local community center and mental health charities in Farnham and Aldershot.”

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