Missing mural by cartoonist Carl Giles was not on wall of Ipswich’s Drum and Monkey pub after all
- Credit: Gregg Brown
The mystery surrounding a long-lost mural by cartoonist Carl Giles deepens as conservators fail to find it in the pub where it was painted.
Restoration expert Julia Park-Newman has peeled away every layer of decorative paint on the walls of the empty Drum and Monkey in a bid to uncover the large artwork, created in 1963.
Her painstaking efforts reaped no reward - and Mrs Park-Newman has concluded the mural was probably painted on a false wall in front of the brick wall and later removed.
“There was an element of disappointment,” said Mrs Park-Newman, a self-employed archaeological and decorative arts conservator.
“I think it would have been quite exciting to have been able to see it.
“It’s a bit of a detective job doing something like this, it’s like forensic work, and when you come up with nothing it is disappointing.”
But Mrs Park-Newman said she wasn’t giving up hope just yet.
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She is appealing for anyone who has information about the mural, or pictures of it, to get in touch to help piece together what might of happened to it.
“It may not be gone, it may just be lost,” she added.
While doing her research about Giles and the mural, Mrs Park-Newman discovered that a group of college art students in 1962-1963 had possibly helped the cartoonist finish the work.
“It would be fantastic to build our knowledge about it,” she said.
Mrs Park-Newman, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the field, said every project she worked on was unique - but this was one particularly poignant.
“I remember Giles from my childhood, we had the annual every year at Christmas,” she added. “Giles is part everyone’s DNA, I think.
“He’s just your joker from next door. He’s great and has got a fantastic sense of humour. So it was very special to be to go and search for the mural.”
Giles created the work for the pub when it was called The Sporting Farmer. It has an agricultural-theme and is believed to have measured 16ft by 8ft.
John Field, Giles enthusiast and collector, has previously called the cartoon “priceless”.
It was initially believed that the mural was painted on a certain wall in the pub, but had been covered by at least two thick layers of paint. Ipswich Borough Council commissioned the investigatory work.
A spokesman for the authority said: “We are disappointed that we have been unable to find the Giles treasure but we wanted to be sure and now we know there is no evidence that it is still there. We are very grateful for Julia’s painstaking research and report.”
Anyone with information about the mural can contact Mrs Park-Newman on: firstname.lastname@example.org