The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

One of the nine Dorothy Annan murals, 'Radio communications and television'

Murals in Britain 1920-1970: Revisions, revelations and risks – one day conference in March 2013


The plight of our public art was highlighted by several high profile cases in 2012.  In particular, the vulnerability of murals have exercised imaginations, and in one notable incident, drew international interest.  Childish temptation compels me to remind readers of the ‘worst restoration in history’ undertaken by an undoubtedly well-intentioned resident of the Spanish city of Borja.  Ecce Homo, a reliable if unremarkable 19th century mural, on display in a small church, was ‘freshened up’ by a faithful church-goer.  Unfortunately, the results offered an interpretation of Christ that was more bloated weariness than Savior of Men.

Happily, back in London, a more successful turn of events, as the Society played a crucial role in securing the future of the Dorothy Annan murals associated with Farringdon Street and soon to find a new home in the Barbican.  It was clear from the strong attendance at the RIBA Tuesday Late in November in which Henrietta Billings (the Society’s Senior Conservation Adviser) and Director, Catherine Croft, outlined the Annan case that there is real enthusiasm for improving the profile of the too often overlooked art of mural painting and decoration.

So, Murals in Britain 1920-1970:  Revisions, revelations and risk, a one-day conference organised by Alan Powers, taking place in London in March 2013, is most timely.  Across the day, speakers will address how issues including recognition, conservation, recording and protection can be improved so that a depressing history of loss can be curbed.  The conference is held in association with the exhibition Mural and Decorative Painting 1920 -1970 (13 February – 9 March 2013) at the Fine Art Society, London.

We are delighted with the strong and knowledgeable line-up of speakers and anticipate the day will be a valuable and informative one for attendees.  Sadly, we were unable to secure the wisdom of the Borja restorer….

For more information on the conference and booking details please click here.


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