'Artist restores forgotten mural' (BBC Scotland News (Online), 13/04/2009)

One of Scotland’s best known artists has started restoring a “forgotten” mural he painted on a pub wall in Lanarkshire 40 years ago.

The Falls of Clyde, by writer and artist Alasdair Gray, was rediscovered under layers of paint and wallpaper at the Riverside Bar near New Lanark.

The 4ft (1.2m) wide, 25ft (7.6m) long mural depicting views of the Clyde Gorge has been destroyed in places.

Gray began work on the 10-day restoration project on Monday.

The 74-year-old was commissioned to paint The Falls of Clyde by the owners of the Tavern Kirkfieldbank as it was formerly known.

The artist - best known for his novel Lanark and his mural on the ceiling of Glasgow’s Oran Mor venue - said he was well aware the same scenes had been painted by many great landscape artists including Turner.

He said: “This part of the river is fascinating for its geology, natural history and the social history of Scotland through its connection with William Wallace, the early industrial revolution, David Dale and the Scottish co-operative movement.

“I have since enjoyed many walks with friends here, especially at weekends when Bonnington power station is switched off and the Clyde Falls can be seen with the full force that astonished Wordsworth and Coleridge.”

The mural became lost to the public when it was covered by wallpaper, paint and light fittings more than a decade ago.

It was uncovered again when wallpaper was stripped in 2006, but was badly damaged in two areas. Businessman Andy Boyle, who bought and restored the drinking venue, described his first glimpse of the painting.

“The then landlord told me that some guy called Gray had painted it on the wall,” he said.

He added: “We believe the mural is an invaluable piece of Scottish art history.”