Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Enveloped by the Mackmosphere...

This graphic is my cover of the carved wood panels that adorn the pulpit of the CRM designed Queen's Cross Church, Glasgow; now the home of the CRM Society.
The design is dated as 1899, and represents, I believe, the Dove of Peace, the Tree of Knowledge, and the Dove holding the Ring of Eternity.

A picture of the pulpit can be seen at Gerald Blaikie's wonderful CRM site here.

This design was somewhat repeated in a wall mural painted in 1901 at St. Serf's United Free Church, Kirkcaldy, in Fife.
The mural was described in the German Arts Magazine, DECORATIVE KUNST IX (1902), the design showed "The dove of peace and the tree of knowledge, the latter represented by three rings - good, evil and eternity"
A picture of the mural being restored from behind multiple layers of magnolia emulsion, shown above.

A 2004 description of the mural and restoration taken from the Glasgow Herald is reproduced without permission below:

A MASTERPIECE of decorative art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh has been discovered hidden beneath white paint on the wall of a church. The distinctive art nouveau mural, which is being described by astonished Mackintosh experts as ''extremely important'', has been uncovered on the walls of Dysart Kirk, near Kirkcaldy in Fife. Painted by Mackintosh, perhaps the most famous Scottish artist, at the height of his powers in 1901, it had been hidden from public view for about 80 years until recent restoration work in the church revealed its patterns.

The complex design shows the dove of peace, the tree of knowledge and three circles depicting good, evil and eternity, and closely resembles Mackintosh designs for the Queen's Cross Church in Glasgow. Last night, Morag Baker, an elder of the church who had proposed the investigation of the mural, said it had been known for many years that Mackintosh had visited the building and painted there, but it was generally assumed his work had been lost forever.

In October 1901, the artist visited Dysart and claimed expenses from his employers, Honeyman & Keppie. Other records show that a fortnight later the church paid the company (pounds) 10 in fees for some ''decorations''. It is thought that Mackintosh - who died in obscurity in 1928 but whose designs are among the most famous and popular in British art - was a friend of the minister or of a prominent member of the congregation.

It was thought that decades of redecoration with plain emulsion had obliterated the design. However Alan Ferdinand, a conservator hired by the church, has found that beneath that paint lies the original decoration in all its glory, painted in pale blue, green and black. Ms Baker said: "I had thought for years that in this mural we had inherited something special and now we have shown that it is very beautiful indeed." The mural design had been published in a German magazine in 1902 so we knew that Mackintosh had been here, and to find it under what must be 10 coats of white paint is extremely exciting. "I personally could not be more pleased, but in 1901 this mural was done for the people of Dysart, and it still belongs to them which is wonderful. "We need money for the renovation of the church and I'd like to think that people will be generous in their appreciation of this wonderful mural."

Professor Pamela Robertson, the chair of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, said: "This is an extremely important rediscovery. The design is from Mackintosh's most creative period in the early 1900s and it was always thought it had been removed in the 1920s. What we need to do now is work out the links between Mackintosh and this small parish in Fife."

The Rev Tilly Wilson of Dysart Kirk said she found the rediscovery of the mural to be a moving event. ''A past generation commissioned it to the glory of God and as a visible witness of their faith,'' she said. ''They just didn't put it there just as a nice decoration - they asked Mackintosh to represent the tree of knowledge and the dove of peace to express their Christian faith.'' Dysart Kirk was built in 1874 and was originally called St Serf's United Free Church. It is now part of the Church of Scotland. Once the conservation work is completed, it is hoped to allow access to anyone who is interested in seeing the work.

Jim Swan, the chairman of the Dysart Trust, said: ''It's wonderful that the mural, which has been here for all these years, which no-one living can remember seeing, has now come to light. ''This is a huge bonus for the current regeneration of Dysart which will bring in tourists and international recognition. ''The fact that the congregation had the foresight to commission the work by Mackintosh means that it is still there for future generations to see.''

By Phil Miller Arts Correspondent, Glasgow Herald, 23 Jul 2004.


Blogger Dale said...

I was expecting Hobbits, where are the Hobbits?

7:27 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

I'm guessing you can hear me howling with laughter and smirking with admiration at your skills Sans. It's my new Facebook Profile photo! Thanks a million. Only you shall PASS!

7:43 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Dale, I worship the water you walk on!

8:24 PM  

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