A LARGELY forgotten church mosaic thathas lain hidden for 55 years under a layer of paint could be restoredto its former glory.
The image is the creation of Victorian Gothic Revival architect WilliamButterfield and lies on the eastern wall of the sanctuary at the All Saints Harrow Weald Church in Uxbridge Road he designed, although the decorative scheme was covered in whitewash in 1957.
The Friends of All Saints now want to raise s14,000 to pay forconservation work to reveal the artwork at the Grade II* Listed building and complement existing uncovered mosaic, similarly added in Butterfields' characteristically colourful style when he redesigned the church in 1890, on the east wall of the nave, the ceiling and the panels on the reredos behind the altar.
A faded sepia photograph of the hidden mosaic in situ shows it comprises alternating geometric panels and scrolls with a great flourish at the top.
Dr Isobel Thompson, historic environment record officer at Hertfordshire County Council, who is leading the restoration appeal, said: "This Butterfield gem iscompletely unacknowledged amd unknown.
We look forward to revealing this beautiful and intricate work of mosaic it art in all its original glory.
Thefriends group are selling sponsorship of small sections of the wall fors20 each for commemoration of people or events, and have alreadybrought in s2,000.
An openevening to launch the appeal is being held on Tuesday, March 13, at thechurch at 7.30pm with guest speakers including Dr Thompson andcraftsman and restorer William Northover.
Therewill be an exhibition of local artist Jonathan Hutchins 14contemporary paintings of his interpretations of Jesus journey to thecross.
Reverend JamesMercer, vicar of the church, said: The only evidence for the mosaic isa faded sepia photograph that shows the extent of the
hidden masterpiece which was painted over at a time when Victorian heritage was little appreciated.
Thepaint is now shabby and peeling, and investigation has found that itcan be professionally removed without harming the surface beneath.
He added: All Saints has gained a reputation for exhibiting contemporary works of art.
Welook forward to welcoming people from the local community to come andview Jonathans challenging work and to discover the surprising
beauty of All Saints church and its Butterfield architecture."
nThe art exhibition can be viewed every Tuesday and Wednesday between10am and 12noon until Good Friday on April 6 with the artist giving aguided tour on Wednesday April 4 at 7.30pm.