Photos of St Mark’s Paintings

The wall paintings in the Chancel and sanctuary of St Mark’s are the work of Miss Kitty Milroy, a member of the congregation, who designed and painted them between 1911 and 1920 during which time she almost lived there! They are of local interest, since she used people from the area as models for the figures and included local scenes.

The first to be done was the wall behind the altar. This represents the Magnificat and the meeting of Mary with the Angel, which is set in a meadow carpeted with flowers.

My Soul doth magnify the Lord,
and my spirit hath rejoiced in God, my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth,
all generations shall call me blessed!

Around the window arch a vine is growing. often used as a symbol of Christ. On either side at the bottom of the vine is the Lion of St. Mark. Above are the symbols of the four Evangelists, two on each side, leading, at the top to a ship, the “Ark of Christ’s Church”.

The two other walls show scenes from the Benedicite – the great hymn of praise offered by all creation to its Creator.

O all ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord!
Praise Him and magnify Him for ever!
O ye Angels….
O ye Seas and Floods….
O all ye beasts and Cattle….
Praise Him and magnify Him for ever!

No attempt is made to illustrate all thirty-two verses, but the large figures under an arcade of apple trees represent Showers, Sun, Moon and Clouds on one wall and Waters, Summer, Winter and Winds on the other.

The paintings include local scenes – a view of Crooksbury Hill and of the group of pine trees known as Elephants Clump standing out against an evening sky.

The Chancel Arch has a festoon of the fruits of the earth with angels praising God with musical instruments. At the very top of the arch is a circle, traversed by the Cross as a symbol of God’s eternity and love.

Miss Milroy used very special paints for the pictures and bound them with “a walnut of beeswax to half a pint of turps”! As the chancel was colder than the remainder of the church, damp became evident on the walls. This caused the paint to peel and some figures became damaged. A restoration was needed, and in 1946 Miss Evelyn Caesar attempted to recover the original colours, using Kitty Milroy’s notes. The cost of this restoration was £52 and after donations and fund raising £60-6s-8d was raised. A radiator was also installed to try to prevent the troubles.

Regrettably, the problem has not gone away, and many of the paintings are in a poor state, with paint flaking off and some pictures are becoming unrecognisable.

We would like to restore them, but first we have had them photographed so we have a good record – the paintings, kindly photographed by Richard Heath, are pictured below:

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Serving the Villages North of Farnham: Badshot Lea, Hale, Heath End & Weybourne