Tag Archives: Nick Seversway

Calling all Detectives – mural detectives!

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?

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Is this Percy Hook?

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).

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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.

Please contact

Nick Seversway  

nick.seversway@outlook.com, 07954693191

Can you help identify these figures?

At St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, painted on the walls of the chancel is a unique piece of local history. About a hundred years ago, Kitty Milroy, a local artist, painted local people and local scenes in murals. The paintings now are in a precarious condition. There is curling of the paint and paint losses and areas where the paintings have been rubbed over many years resulting in a powdering of the paint. In order to save this piece of our local heritage, St Mark’s needs to apply to various organizations for grants in order to stabilise the loose paint as conservation is the first and most important goal. Once this has been done, then filling and restoration can take place hopefully with further funding. But you may be able help.

Nick Seversway, a local restorer of paintings says, “What we need to do to put a case for grants is to gather as much info as is possible and this is where you come in. There are some names linked to the figures, but we would love to know exactly who posed for which picture. Also there was once a huge amount of preliminary drawings and paintings does anyone know what happened to them? The biggest mystery is Kitty Milroy herself. She was the daughter of the Vicar of Carisbrooke whose mother moved the family to The Oast House between 1902 and 1911 after his death. Does anyone know where Kitty trained in art? Did she paint any other pictures?

All and any info will help in our bid to save this unique piece of local history.

I am a restorer of 35 years’ experience working locally and in London. This work is no run of mill amateur work. It is simply rendered but well drawn, perfectly set in its patterned surround and a huge undertaking for one very talented woman.”

If you have any information, please contact:

Nick Seversway

The Art House

nick.seversway@outlook.com

07954693191

Photograph by Richard Heath