rylstone bridge view inn mural
In the late 1990's, in the small town of Rylstone in country NSW, a mural hidden for 100 years was discovered in the historic Bridge View Inn. Although it was in very poor condition and the top third was covered by overpaint, Virginia Hollister from the Rylstone Historical Society realised that it contained accurate local historical information and amusing references to classical imagery.
Initial inspection and fund raising
ICS first inspected the mural in 2010. We found that it was very unstable as the plaster on which it was painted had separated from the brick wall behind it. The paint layer had also been damaged where fixings for lights and shelves had been installed. On the basis of our initial assessment, the Rylstone Historical Society was able to attract partial funding towards conservation of the mural from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage. Additional funds were then raised by the local community.
ICS was engaged to undertake conservation and restoration of the mural in stages over the course of two years. Between 2012 and 2013, four of our paintings conservators travelled to live and work in the Bridge View Inn. Buoyed by community spirit and friendly locals, they worked through long hours of injecting glue, and filling cracks and holes. Finally, after the extensive and laborious removal of overpaint and retouching of paint losses, they revealed bawdy nymphs, an innocent cupid, and a mischievous grinning satyr.
The mural turned out not only to be a rare 19th Century mural, but a quirky, historical reference to Rylstone, and typical of artist A.B. Peirce who painted it. Thanks to the research and hard work of the Rylstone Historical Society, the generosity of the community and the skill and passion of the conservators, the mural has been restored to wholeness and is a treasure of the town, state and nation.
Rylstone and District Historical Society
Retouching paint losses