Seven beautiful drawings made over a century ago by the famous artist Brangwyn, in preparation for the murals in Christ’s Hospital School’s Chapel, have just been dispatched for the first stage of a project to conserve them. This exciting conservation project is set to take 6 months and is being funded by Horsham District Year of Culture 2019, with progress being documented throughout.
Christ’s Hospital Chapel has been home to a stunning series of sixteen mural paintings by Sir Frank Brangwyn for the last century. An artist of international renown, Brangwyn was commissioned to paint the sequence in 1912, finally completing them in 1923. They depict the spread of Christianity throughout the world.
Brangwyn also gave the school seven conté crayon preparatory drawings (cartoons) for the murals. These large-scale, richly coloured, framed studies have remained in the school’s museum store since the 1920s, subsequently falling into a vulnerable state of disrepair. The cartoons will now be cleaned, re-mounted, backed and framed by a specialist paper conservator and framer, which will hopefully ensure these hidden treasures are restored to their former glory for future generations to enjoy.
Brangwyn’s Christ’s Hospital drawings will go on display, for the first time in nearly 100 years, at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Year of Culture from 9 February to 23 March 2019. Following this, they will return to Christ’s Hospital Museum as part of a larger exhibition. This will showcase Brangwyn’s early planning for the Chapel murals, and his changing ideas and inspirations as they evolved, as well as invite comparison between the figurative, subtle sketches, and the rich and decorative murals. This exhibition will run from spring 2019 to April 2020 and will be freely open to the public. The Museum will also be offering a programme of public Mural Tours and Talks for all ages.
Interest in Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867–1956) as an artist is far-reaching; while 2017 marked the 150th anniversary of Brangwyn’s birth, 2019 celebrates the centenary of him working on the CH murals. He was an Anglo-Welsh artist born in Bruges, who trained with the famous Arts and Crafts maker, William Morris, and yet bridged the Modern Movement in art. He worked prolifically across all media, in a career that spanned some 70 years, before ending his days in Ditchling, Sussex.