21 June 2010

from the archives #01: sudan war mural, petersham

For some time, I've been contemplating revisiting some of our past projects for this blog.  With nearly 25 years of conservation work recorded in our archives, there are many fascinating places to visit and stories to share with you.  Last week, I received news about one of our past projects that was a catalyst for this post, the first in an infrequent series to be entitled "from the archives".

The Sudan War mural, with then owner, Keith Sutton

Over the weekend, a shop-terrace at 36 Terminus Street, Petersham was sold at auction.  This building is unique because in the main front room, two of the walls are covered with a mural comprising 27 life-sized or larger caricature sketches dating from 1888.

Many of the caricatures depict military and political figures associated with the Sudan War of 1885, including General Charles Gordon, Governor Loftus (and his chicken) and Ned Kelly.

Governor Loftus and his chicken

Ned Kelly

We were responsible for the conservation work to this mural in 2003.  The owner, Keith Sutton, was able to commission this work as a result of receiving grant funding from the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage.  He had originally discovered the mural whilst removing the existing wallpaper (and overpaint layers) during a renovation of the property.

Condition of mural prior to conservation works

This property is listed on the Register of the National Estate, highlighting the significance of the mural.

You can read more about our work on this mural on our website, or understand the owners' story about the journey he has followed after discovering this mural in the lead article of the May 2004 edition of the Blue Pencil.

David West
International Conservation Services

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