Charles Mahoney (1903-1968):
Adoration of the Shepherds, (Winter), c.1942
Framed (ref: 221)
Signed and inscribed on a label to the reverse
Oil on paper (arched top),
17 3/4 x 11 3/4 in. (45 x 30 cm.)
Provenance: The Artist's Estate
Exhibited: The Whitworth Art Gallery, 1957; Preston, Canterbury, London, Charles Mahoney, The Fine Art Society, (cat 81)
Literature: Charles Mahoney, Liss Fine Art, 1999, pp.40-41 and pp.56-57; British Murals & Decorative Painting 1920-1960, Sansom & Co, 2013, pp.85-86 and pp.232-243
In a shaped gilded oak frame.
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 Sepolcro. Electing to paint directly onto canvas fixed to the walls and by daylight hours only, the project inevitably became drawn out and 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 as second ...only to that by Stanley Spencer at Burghclere.
Above: The Lady Chapel at Campion Hall
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.