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. The most
notable case is Our Lady of Mercy (Autumn), clearly inspired by Piero della Francesca’s altarpiece at Borgo San
Electing to paint directly onto canvas fixed to the walls and by daylight hours only, the project inevitably became
drawn out ‚Äì 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 ‚Äúsecond ‚Ä¶.. only to that by Stanley Spencer at
Burghclere‚Äù. A full account of the circumstances of the commission and some of the problems involved can be
found in Sir John Rothenstein’s Tribute to Mahoney in the catalogue of the Memorial Exhibition held at the
Ashmolean Museum in 1975.
Mahoney bought the best quality materials, often from Lechertier Barbe, in Jermyn Street. He prepared boards and
canvases for painting with much care, using special recipes. In his own words: ‚ÄúThe practical lesson to be learned is
that ground and underpainting always have some effect on the final painting, even when it is not apparent, and that
pictures must be carefully built up with this point in mind.‚Äù His oil paints were artist’s colours, which he applied with
Hogshair and Sable brushes. He made extensive notes on pigments so that he was familiar with the chemical
properties of each colour. For his mural schemes he mixed his oil paints with wax, applied to canvas that had been
fixed to the wall before painting commenced. His favourite frames were purchased in the 50s and 60s from Robert
Savage of South Kensington. These were beautifully made from a wide choice of mouldings and colourways.