Friday, August 28, 2020

A Threatened Mural in Oldham Illuminates a Key Moment in British Art

By Edwin Heathcote
A detail of George Mayer-Marton’s mosaic and fresco before the latter was painted over. © The Estate of George Mayer-Marton
On the wall of a shabby-looking church in suburban Manchester, there is – for the moment, at least – a mosaic of the Crucifixion executed in a Byzantine style. Christ hangs on the cross against the backdrop of a shimmering golden mandorla. Today, only this central element of the mural completed in 1955 by the Hungarian-Jewish émigré George Mayer-Marton is visible. Mayer-Marton’s epic work is found in the small Church of the Holy Rosary in Oldham, built in the 1950s, and now – with its congregation collapsed and no priests to minister to it – closed. A campaign is running with the support of Save Britain’s Heritage to have the mural listed, in an attempt to protect it from the threats of vandalism, theft or redevelopment of the unused church. [More