Divine layers in mural

VISUAL PUN: The mare is said to be a humorous reference to the Gisborne mayor of the time, John Clarke. Pictures by Liam Clayton
CHRONICLER: Artist Graeme Mudge painted himself into the mural that once filled a wall in a Gisborne District Council courtyard.

MORE information, some esoteric, has come to light since the Guide story of July 13 about the Graeme Mudge mural reproduction installed outside the Lawson Field Theatre.

The 18th or 19th century setting could be the village Kings Langley or Abbotts Langley, or a combination of the two.

The St Albans satellite villages in southern England are where Gisborne town criers John Dwight and John Kibble grew up.

John Dwight is the central figure in the work and John Kibble, who died the year before Dwight took on the mantle, is seen to the right of the work with his dog Kipper at his feet.

Mudge has also painted himself into the work. He is the innocuous, bearded figure with sketch block in hand and beret on his head just inside the far archway. The front wheel of his bicycle can be seen behind him.

“Mudgie always joked (former mayor) John Clarke was a good friend of the two Johns, and that he too is in the mural,” said Stuart Dwight, eldest son of John Dwight.

John Kibble became Gisborne’s town crier under John Clarke.

“He and Anne would attend official functions with the mayor, social gatherings and city events. They welcomed tourists to town and were wonderful ambassadors for our city.”

The mayor has been cast in a visual pun as the mare with upraised tail to the left of the alley.

The inclusion of the theatre poster above John Kibble’s shoulder on the right hand side of the mural refers to the two Johns’ love of the stage.

“They spent many years in the Gisborne theatre scene, on the committee and building sets under the guidance of Mudgie. They were actors, singers, dancers — very bad dancers — directors; whatever was needed to bring the show to life.

“They loved it.”

The artist has butted the village street or square up against features from central Gisborne in the background. One of the Endeavour replicas the two Johns were commissioned to build as part of the Cook-centric bicentenary of 1969 towers above the village scene.

The friends also built a much larger Endeavour replica for the bicentenary. After it appeared in the grand street parade, the ship remained for many years in Endeavour Park, since named Heipipi/Endeavour Park, on the corner by the courthouse. Weather took its toll and it was eventually demolished.

Mudge’s inclusion of the facade of Holy Trinity Church in the background of the mural is a little more mystifying.

The church was packed out for John Kibble’s funeral, so overcrowded many people had to stand outside. But the church also houses twin, stained glass lancet windows that feature the Annunciation. In the July 13 story I suggested Mudge used the time-honoured device of separating the divine realm from which archangel Gabriel descends to tell the mortal Mary she will be impregnated by God. On the right hand side of the mural, the late John Kibble is slightly separated from the main action and looks over his shoulder as he seems to move out of the scene.

Among Renaissance artists to depict the Annunciation was Leonardo da Vinci, who broke with tradition. Instead of dividing the worlds with a pillar or cross-section of the wall, he included an interval of negative space: a vista that looks across a distant lake or sea. In the Holy Trinity Church’s lancet windows, the mullion (vertical bar between panes of glass) divides Gabriel from Mary.

MORE information, some esoteric, has come to light since the Guide story of July 13 about the Graeme Mudge mural reproduction installed outside the Lawson Field Theatre.

The 18th or 19th century setting could be the village Kings Langley or Abbotts Langley, or a combination of the two.

The St Albans satellite villages in southern England are where Gisborne town criers John Dwight and John Kibble grew up.

John Dwight is the central figure in the work and John Kibble, who died the year before Dwight took on the mantle, is seen to the right of the work with his dog Kipper at his feet.

Mudge has also painted himself into the work. He is the innocuous, bearded figure with sketch block in hand and beret on his head just inside the far archway. The front wheel of his bicycle can be seen behind him.

“Mudgie always joked (former mayor) John Clarke was a good friend of the two Johns, and that he too is in the mural,” said Stuart Dwight, eldest son of John Dwight.

John Kibble became Gisborne’s town crier under John Clarke.

“He and Anne would attend official functions with the mayor, social gatherings and city events. They welcomed tourists to town and were wonderful ambassadors for our city.”

The mayor has been cast in a visual pun as the mare with upraised tail to the left of the alley.

The inclusion of the theatre poster above John Kibble’s shoulder on the right hand side of the mural refers to the two Johns’ love of the stage.

“They spent many years in the Gisborne theatre scene, on the committee and building sets under the guidance of Mudgie. They were actors, singers, dancers — very bad dancers — directors; whatever was needed to bring the show to life.

“They loved it.”

The artist has butted the village street or square up against features from central Gisborne in the background. One of the Endeavour replicas the two Johns were commissioned to build as part of the Cook-centric bicentenary of 1969 towers above the village scene.

The friends also built a much larger Endeavour replica for the bicentenary. After it appeared in the grand street parade, the ship remained for many years in Endeavour Park, since named Heipipi/Endeavour Park, on the corner by the courthouse. Weather took its toll and it was eventually demolished.

Mudge’s inclusion of the facade of Holy Trinity Church in the background of the mural is a little more mystifying.

The church was packed out for John Kibble’s funeral, so overcrowded many people had to stand outside. But the church also houses twin, stained glass lancet windows that feature the Annunciation. In the July 13 story I suggested Mudge used the time-honoured device of separating the divine realm from which archangel Gabriel descends to tell the mortal Mary she will be impregnated by God. On the right hand side of the mural, the late John Kibble is slightly separated from the main action and looks over his shoulder as he seems to move out of the scene.

Among Renaissance artists to depict the Annunciation was Leonardo da Vinci, who broke with tradition. Instead of dividing the worlds with a pillar or cross-section of the wall, he included an interval of negative space: a vista that looks across a distant lake or sea. In the Holy Trinity Church’s lancet windows, the mullion (vertical bar between panes of glass) divides Gabriel from Mary.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    Is MMP in its current form the best way for us to elect our government?