Hoylandswaine Church unveils rare restored Pre-Raphaelite mural

Hoylandswaine Community MuralHoylandswaine community groups are getting together this July to organise an ambitious village festival to celebrate the unveiling. 

The original motive was a small event to celebrate the unveiling of the restored mural in church.   Somehow, it has grown into more than a week of village activities organised by various groups in the community. 

Hoylandswaine hopes lots of people will come to their village for the art exhibition, scarecrow trail, well dressing, cricket matches, marathon relay, real ale tasting, bell ringing, talks and concerts but these are all leading up to the main event on Sunday July 27 when a procession will follow a newly created community banner to the church for the unveiling of the mural and dedication of a new altar frontal by the Bishop. 

The mural is of ‘The Ascendency of Christ’ – Christ in the centre with angels on either side and was painted in 1869 at the time the church was completed. It was painted by John Roddam Spencer-Stanhope of Cannon Hall but unfortunately was painted over with several layers of emulsion and gloss paint in the 1960s, when damp had caused considerable deterioration. 

The painting lived on in the memory of the village and in 2009 a project was initiated to restore the painting. A Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £100,000 was obtained to uncover and conserve it and the work has already attracted the attention of Pre- Raphaelite art lovers from far and wide.  

Work is now complete and the week-long festival to celebrate the restoration about to begin. As Elizabeth Charlesworth, a member of Hoylandswaine Church and the Art Group said, “The painting belongs to the community and we are involving the whole community in the celebration of its rebirth.”

The church will be open every day so that visitors can view the painting and also learn a little about the historical and artistic background to the painting. 

On Monday to Wednesday mornings (21-23 July) at 11 and Thursday afternoon (24) at 1.30 there will be organ music. There will also be talks to help people understand the background to the painting:

The Pre-Raphaelites, by Simon Brock on Monday 21 July at 1.30pm.
The Arts And Crafts Movement, by Jim Cheshire on Tuesday 22 July at 1.30pm.
The Stained Glass Windows in Wakefield Cathedral, by Kate Taylor on Wednesday 23 July at 1.30pm
John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, by Simon Poë on Friday 25 July at 11.00am.
Download more information about events and book into talks here.

The Roddam Trail is a booklet which takes in some of the forgotten works of art by Pre-Raphaelite painter John Roddam Spencer Stanhope. These are often in churches including some, such as Hoylandswaine, Cawthorne and Flockton in the southern part of our new diocese.
Download the trail here.

Hoylandswaine Village Festival Facebook Page.

The photograph accompanying this story is of a Community Mural which has tried to imagine what the real one may look like. Using a sketch drawn by local artist and art teacher Simon Brock, children from local schools, parishioners, the Mother’s Union, local people  and even the vicar have all contributed to the mural. The ‘Community Mural’ was unveiled at the Easter Sunday Service this year and there is great anticipation as the actual mural is unveiled.

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