|Figures are (l-r) Adam and Eve, Noah, Rachel and Jacob
|Check out the border on the 'Wombat Wedding Feast' mural
|Conservator Bianca Madden from specialist conservators Tobit Curteis
The house remained in private ownership until the National Trust acquired it in 2003. Much of the original decoration seems to have been hidden by panelling, wallpaper and paint, just waiting to be discovered. The beautiful new mural was hidden behind a fitted wardrobe under a layer of wallpaper. When first uncovered only two of the figures were faintly visible. After substantial conservation, the full mural, six feet by eight feet in size, has been uncovered. The room was Morris and Jane's bedroom and the figures are Adam and Eve (with a snake), Noah (holding a tiny ark) and Rachel and Jacob (with a ladder). An added dimension (almost literally) is that the design is meant to be a tapestry, painted to resemble actual folds of fabric.
|The lovely Rachel
“The concept of the overall design was almost certainly by Morris. Our initial thoughts are that the figure of Jacob was by Morris, Rachel possibly by Elizabeth Siddal, Noah by Madox Brown. But who painted Adam and Eve? Maybe Rossetti or Burne-Jones?”
There are lines of faded text under the bottom of the painting and with the help of folk on Twitter the text has been identified as Genesis 30:6, and I quote 'And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she called his name Dan (which means Judging)'
|The figure of Eve
The work, which is astonishing, was undertaken by specialist Tobit Curteis who have slowly uncovered this beautiful discovery. For me, the mural has a tinge of bittersweetness as it was obviously painted in the spirit of optimism and camaraderie. The text under the painting speaks of a belief that you will get rewarded for your efforts. I hope, after all, the group of friends felt that had their rewards, although in some cases it's hard to believe.
The Red House is open to the public and the National Trust page is here and it is very much worth a visit as they continue to reveal aspects of this home of an brilliant man and his extraordinary friends.