Lady Waterford Hall The murals
The stunning biblical murals on the walls of the Hall were painted by Louisa Anne, Marchioness of Waterford, from 1862 to 1883 while the building was in use as a school. They were influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite movement, as was much of Louisa’s work.
The pictures were painted in life-sized watercolour on paper stretched on wooden frames or panels, which were then washed with distemper to tighten them, and mounted on the walls.
North wall: Nine scenes from the Old Testament
East wall: Jesus in the midst of the Doctors (in the Temple)
South wall: Five scenes from the New Testament with the child Jesus as the centerpiece
West wall: Christ blessing the children
The Portrait Gallery of the Village
Models for all the characters in the murals were taken from children from the school and their parents from the village and estate, leading to a unique representation of a community in art. Although there is no complete record of who sat for what picture, many are known. Relatives of some of the faces painted still live near the village, but others have moved as far as Canada or Australia. Today, people still come from the other side of the world to see a portrait which they believe to be a relative of theirs.
Some of the known faces are:
Jesus midst the Doctors
Rev. Francis Gooch, curate at Ford 1868-1872; John Todd, schoolmaster at Ford 1865-1902; Dick Dunn, head gamekeeper d.1881; John Palmer; child Will Lock, joiner and violinist.
Jesus blessing the children
Mrs Bessie Thompson and her sons John (in Blessing) and Willie (in Timothy) - her husband was Lady Waterford’s coachman; John and Andrew Trotter, sons of the head gardener; Miss Boardman; personal maid Lily Todd, daughter of the schoolmaster.
Also Mrs Mary Heslop, as Rebecca and Lois, housekeeper
Joseph and his brothers
A number of these models are miners from the nearby Ford Moss Colliery.
Might my relatives be in the pictures?
Do you think you might have a relative painted on the wall at the Lady Waterford Hall? Please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you!