All Manner of Murals: The History, Techniques and Conservation of Secular Wall Paintings

Robert Gowing, Robyn Pender (eds)

UK Price: £49.50 US Price: $85.00

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ISBN: 1904982115
Binding: Hardback
Dimensions: 297 x 210 mm
Pages: 218
Illustrations: 160 colour

Terrifying beasts, imaginary landscapes, portraits and ornaments - All Manner of Murals celebrates the many ways we have decorated our day-to-day lives with wall paintings. Murals by their very nature must remain in and on the structures for which they were designed, inextricably at one with their surroundings, and so offer glimpses of vanished ways of living. Whether painted in a humble cottage or a grand palace, they illustrate the march not only of history, but of our view of ourselves.

At once strange and strangely familiar, the ancient wall painting emerging from under layers of whitewash has much to tell us about how our predecessors saw the world around them. The tradition of wall painting, arguably the oldest of art forms, continues to this day, and our descendants may find our own values and views reflected in the murals, private and public, that we leave behind.

The 20 papers collected in this volume (from 3 symposia* hosted by the Stone and Wall Painting Group of the Institute of Conservation [ICON]) explore over 500 years of secular wall paintings, right up to contemporary work, looking at why and how they were painted, and the best ways of caring for them to ensure that future generations can also find in 'all manner of murals' a source of wonder and of kinship to their past.

*The 3 UKIC symposia were entitled:
Illusions of Grandeur: English Baroque wall paintings
Followers of Fashion: Renaissance wall paintings in Britain
Modern Traditions: 19th- and 20th-century secular wall paintings

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All Manner of Murals illuminates the rich history of British secular wall painting with fascinating art-historical detail, new archival information and interpretations...All Manner of Murals makes a major contribution to highlighting the quality, diversity and vulnerability of secular wall paintings, surely the essential first step in their protection and care.
Studies in Conservation 54(1) (2009) 62-64

For anyone interested in the history, techniques and conservation of wall paintings, this lavishly illustrated scholarly book is essential reading. It not only captures the beauty and variety of images and motifs found in wall paintings, but also elucidates the influences and fashions which helped to create them while reminding us of their fragility and the need to conserve them for ourselves and future generations.
Journal of Architectural Conservation 13(3) (November 2007) 91-92