Charles Mahoney (1903-1968):
Symbols of Mary, mid 1940's
Framed (ref: 603)
Oil on paper, 7 1/2 x 30 in. (19 x 76.2 cm.)
In a gilded lap joint oak frame with pegs to the corners
Mahoney was commissioned to produce a mural scheme for the Lady Chapel at Campion Hall in 1941. The scheme was to be made up primarily of three large panels: the Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds, the Coronation of the Virgin, and Our Lady of Mercy. In detail and composition the paintings owe much to early Italian example.
Electing to paint directly onto canvas fixed to the walls and by daylight hours only, the project inevitably became drawn out and Mahoney could only work in situ during the Easter and summer vacations when he was not teaching. The project continued into the following decade and coincided with a serious decline in the artist's physical health. In spite of these problems, Sir John Rothenstein, who chose to reproduce one of the murals as a plate in British Art since 1900 (1962, pl.60), was moved to describe the scheme as as second ...only to that by Stanley Spencer at Burghclere.
This is a study for the final composition of the wall panel above the altar. It is amongst the most evocative of Mahoney's designs and is full of the compositional devices that characterise his best work.