Works by famed Christ’s Hospital artist set to be restored

Drawing by Sir Frank Brangwyn in preparation for murals at Christ's Hospital school SUS-180611-113811001
Drawing by Sir Frank Brangwyn in preparation for murals at Christ's Hospital school SUS-180611-113811001

Conservation work is set to begin on seven drawings made over a century ago by the artist Frank Brangwyn in preparation for murals in the chapel of Christ’s Hospital school, near Horsham.

The conservation project is set to take six months and is being funded by Horsham District Year of Culture 2019.

Christ’s Hospital chapel has been home to a stunning series of 16 murals painted by Sir Frank Brangwyn, an artist of international renown. Brangwyn was commissioned to paint the sequence in 1912, finally completing them in 1923. They depict the spread of Christianity throughout the world.

Brangwyn also gave the school seven conté crayon preparatory drawings - cartoons - for the murals. These large-scale, richly coloured, framed studies have remained in the school’s museum store since the 1920s, subsequently falling into a vulnerable state of disrepair.

The cartoons will now be cleaned, re-mounted, backed and framed by a specialist paper conservator and framer. It is hoped the conservation works will ensure the hidden treasures are restored to their former glory for future generations to enjoy.

Brangwyn’s Christ’s Hospital drawings will go on display, for the first time in nearly 100 years, at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery as part of the Year of Culture from February 9 to March 23 2019. They will then return to Christ’s Hospital Museum as part of a larger exhibition. This will showcase Brangwyn’s early planning for the chapel murals and his changing ideas and inspirations as they evolved.

This exhibition will run from spring 2019 to April 2020 and will be freely open to the public. The museum will also be offering a programme of public mural tours and talks for all ages.

Last year marked the 250th anniversary of the birth of Sir Frank Brangwyn (1867–1956). Next year celebrates the centenary of his working on the Christ’s Hospital murals. He was an Anglo-Welsh artist born in Bruges, who trained with the famous arts and crafts maker William Morris. He worked prolifically across all media, in a career that spanned around 70 years, before ending his days in Ditchling, Sussex.