Restoration of the Fremantle murals

Wednesday 23 August

Balliol College mural by C. Fremantle (photo: IFACS)

The murals by Christopher Fremantle (Balliol 1925) depicting the legend of the foundation of Balliol by John de Balliol have been wonderfully restored through the generosity of the artist’s son Hugh Fremantle.

The murals were painted in the 1920s on the walls of the antechamber to the Dean’s Office on the first floor of Staircase II. They depict:

  • Penance imposed on John Balliol by the Bishop of Durham
  • St Catherine of Alexandria inspiring Dervorguilla of Galloway at prayer
  • Dervorguilla holding Statutes for the College

International Fine Art Conservation Studios (IFACS) of Bristol carried out the work in three phases spread over recent years. The restoration work included consolidation of unstable paint and plaster; removal of surface dirt and grime; removal of paper residues; varnishing; and localised filling and retouching of cracks and paint losses.

The work was overseen by Emeritus Fellow John Jones (Balliol 1961), who was Dean for thirty years (1972-2002) and Fellow Archivist 1981-2009.

Many members of the Fremantle family were students at Balliol. At least nine were admitted to Balliol before 1933; there were at least another four between 1934 and 1990.

Balliol College mural by C. Fremantle (photo: IFACS)

Balliol College mural by C. Fremantle (photo: IFACS)

Balliol College mural by C. Fremantle (photo: IFACS)