Myton mural listed for ‘artistic and historic interest’

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A much-loved mural at Myton School has been listed by Historic England - but will remain covered to show off “modern, eye-catching work” by pupils.

The Four Seasons mural, painted by Alan Sorrell in 1953 at what is now the lower school, has been given Grade II-listed status for its “strong artistic and historic interest”.

It was painted into the reception wall of the then Oken School but covered up last year to allow for new art displays by pupils.

Deborah Williams listing team leader at Historic England, said: “Alan Sorrell is a significant artist whose work is included in national collections, including the Tate and the Imperial War Museum.

“The Seasons is the largest and most impressive large-scale mural by Sorrell and is an exceptional example of post-war decorative art.

“The mural was intended to inspire and entertain the pupils as they entered the buildings so it is deeply unfortunate that it is now hidden from view.”

The school's replacement display

The school's replacement display

The mural must now be given consideration in any alterations or changes - and although the school is not listed, listed building consent would be needed before any major planning change.

The news has been welcomed by art lover and daughter of the painter, Julia Sorrell, who said she is delighted that her father’s work is protected.

She told the Courier: “It is a fitting tribute that what was his largest single undertaking, the Season Mural is now a designated a national monument worthy of preservation and recognised as a valuable part of our national heritage.

“It is one of only a handful of murals in this country which are recognised as such.

The Seasons is the largest and most impressive large-scale mural by Sorrell and is an exceptional example of post-war decorative art

Deborah Williams

“As a daughter, I am extremely pleased and proud he now has this recognition.

“However, it a heritage asset which has been covered up which prevents it being seen by the pupils, staff and those that visit the school.

“I offer my support to those who are still campaigning locally to have the ridiculous cover removed.”

A row broke out last year after the mural was covered for pupils’ artwork to be displayed - a move the school said would not be changed in light of the new listing.

A Myton School statement read: “Historic England visited the school to inspect the mural and were happy with the measures taken to protect it.

“Over the years it has been appreciated by pupils, staff and visitors alike.

“As we have said before, we try to provide a visually stimulating and ever-changing environment and we have lots of art on display, much of it created by the pupils in our vibrant art department.

“Because this is the main student entrance to the school, we took the decision to develop some new visuals that are modern, eye-catching, hard-wearing and tie in with our school strategy for developing key learning habits.

“We carefully covered and protected the Sorrell mural.

“The mural has never been on public display because of its location inside the school .

“The intention is that it can be uncovered at any date and displayed again for our whole school community to enjoy.”