Could a mural painted by Carl Giles inside the Drum and Monkey pub in Ipswich be lost forever?

Image of the mural created by Carl Giles in the Sporting Farmer pub in 1963.

Image of the mural created by Carl Giles in the Sporting Farmer pub in 1963. - Credit: John Field

A mural created in a disused Ipswich pub by legendary cartoonist Carl Giles could be lost forever after decorators painted over it – twice.

Carl Giles, who was born 100 years ago this week.

Carl Giles, who was born 100 years ago this week. - Credit: Archant

Giles brushed the agricultural-themed artwork onto the wall of the Drum and Monkey, formerly named The Sporting Farmer, in 1963.

But since then the large mural has been covered with thick black paint and then white paint on top of that.

Today Robert Entwistle, conservator from Ipswich Museum, will use his expertise to work out if the mural can be saved, and if so, how.

The unoccupied building is owned by Ipswich Borough Council and spokesman Max Stocker said the authority would do everything it could to preserve the important painting.

This week the Ipswich Star and East Anglian Daily Times have been reminiscing on Giles’s life and work to mark the centenary of his birth.

The London-born cartoonist made Suffolk his home after the Second World War. He lived in Tuddenham and a statue in his honour stands in Ipswich town centre near his former office at Giles Circus.

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Speaking yesterday, Mr Stocker said: “First of all we are taking a restoration person from the museum down to the Drum and Monkey tomorrow and he will use his expertise to see whether it is retrievable or whether it has been destroyed by all the paint.

“There is black paint and then white paint so it might be impossible to save but he will give us an opinion. If it could be saved we will do everything we can to save it.

“Bringing in a proper expert we could take it off but we don’t know how until we get the expert report tomorrow, everything will hinge on that whether we can uncover it on-site, which could be difficult, or we move it somehow. We will have to take these decisions when we know what state it’s in.”

The Drum and Monkey closed earlier this year and the building is due to be used as part of the borough council’s regeneration of Princes Street but Mr Stocker said there was no “immediate” plans to demolish it.

Giles enthusiast and collector John Field fears the worst for the mural, which measures around 16ft by 8ft.

He said: “It would be nice to explore if it could be uncovered but I don’t know whether the mural has been badly damaged, disfigured or destroyed by the paint on top of it.”

Mr Field owns a black and white picture of the mural, above, but he is appealing for anyone who has a coloured photograph of the work to come forward so he can add it to his collection.


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