We urgently need information regarding the paintings at St. Marks.
These were painted by Kitty (Eleanor Catherine Wallace) Milroy, the daughter of the Vicar of Carisbrooke when the family relocated to The Oast House in Hale in the early 1900s.
Did you know that the figures in the murals were all local people from Hale? But who are they?
We have found out that ‘the third cherub from the right’ is Percy Hook.
Even this is a bit vague as it depends which way you happen to be looking as to which is right.
Hilda Mary Butler was a figure ‘dressed in blue’.
Can you remember anything that your Gran or Grandad said about the paintings or whether they were one of the figures or if they mentioned who was?
Anything at all will help us build up a picture so we can have the information when we apply for grants to stabilize the wall paintings.
Percy Hook recalled in the Farnham Herald (publ. Nov 30th 1990)
‘it was done by Miss Milroy, who lived at a big house on the corner of what they call Boxalls Hill. I remember sitting in a hut behind her house while she painted it, but not how it came about’
The paintings themselves are painted directly onto the wall so he must have been referring to her preliminary sketches and paintings not of which seem to have survived. The church paintings were painted with a modified version of the technique known as spirit fresco. It is recorded during the major restoration carried out by Evelyn Caesar in 1946, that she used Kitty Milroy’s technique employing a walnut of beeswax.
Indeed the two figures of Moon and Cloud are part of this restoration. But did you know that the small face above the window was also part of this restoration? Evelyn used her niece for this portrait, Josephine Jones (nee Caesar).
Apparently a Violet Common assisted Kitty with the paintings. Does anyone know if this is this true?
Unfortunately all the parish magazines from 1900-1983 are missing. If you know any that still exist before you dump them please hand them on as they provide a great insight as to what was going on and they may even mention the paintings.
These paintings are a unique part of our heritage and represent an important piece of the history of the short lived church decoration at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century.
What can you find out?
Thanks for your help detective.