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St Mark’s Church Murals

We managed to get away for a couple of nights to the Hampshire/Surrey border. There we discovered a church with some beautiful murals painted about 100 years ago. The artist was Kitty Milroy (1885 – 1966), a woman local to the Upper Hale, Farnham area. When we visited, a friendly woman was about to hold a mum’s and toddlers’ play group. She said she had been aware of the murals all her life, but it was only last year that they were restored to their present state.

St Mark's Church mural
St Mark’s Church mural – the left side.

The left hand side shows figures standing beneath apple trees. Each one has a symbolic name. From left to right there is Showers and Sun united by a rainbow, then Moon and Clouds. Each of the figures stands squarely and was based on a local person.

On the right hand side there are a further four figures; Waters, Summer, Winter and Winds. I like how, at the bottom of Winds, there are wood anenomes depicted, woodland flowers we are trying to grow in the garden. They’re flowering around now.

St Mark's Church mural
St Mark’s Church mural – right hand side.

I like the pastel colours – especially the luminous, dusk blue of the sky and the glowing corn golds – and the delicate way the murals are painted. I also like how the figures are in natural surroundings. They remind me of the art of Watts Chapel (see Churches, Chapels and Frescoes) and were created around the same time, the time of the British Art Nouveau Movement.

Below the paintings of the figures are smaller paintings, quatrefoils (images shaped like a four-leafed clover) depicting some local and natural scenes – Crooksbury Hill, Crescent Moon, Stars of Heaven, Fire and Heat and others. I like the symbolism and the references to places local to the church.

St Mark's Church murals
St Mark’s Church murals – around the windows and altar.

The murals are inspiring. I have plans to paint the inside walls of our shed with a mural when it gets warm enough to sit outside. I can’t do as good a job as Kitty, but I can try. That will be a future post :)

4 thoughts on “St Mark’s Church Murals

  1. How beautiful Alexi, and it sounds as if this church is a relatively unknown treasure. They put me in mind of the mosaics and stained glass windows in the war memorial in Canberra, Australia- worth a look online. Napier Waller was an artist who had his right arm amputated in WW1, and learned to paint with his left arm. They are quite beautiful.

    1. Thank you very much Denise. Yes, I don’t think the church is that well-known and it’s quite a humble church. I’ve looked up the war memorial stained glass in Canberra and the windows look stunning. It’s lovely stumbling on beautiful treasures! x

  2. These are gorgeous and thank you for posting them. I was struck by the depictions of ‘women’, not something I’ve seen before in churches .

    1. Thank you for your comment Kat. Yes, it’s good to have pictures of women who aren’t the Virgin Mary :) They’re also based on local, ordinary women and the paintings themsellves are painted by a woman, Kitty Milroy. Hopefully she’ll become better known. The first restoration of the paintings in 1946 was by Evelyn Caesar, another Hale resident.

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