Mike Wade, 'Alasdair Gray begins restoration of ‘lost’ mural' (The Times, 13/04/2009)
yesterday to a Lanarkshire public house to begin the restoration of an “invaluable piece of Scottish art history”.
The artist picked up his paintbrush at the start of a 10-day stint during which he will rework areas of the landscape damaged when the Tavern, Kirkfieldbank, was redecorated in the 1990s, and his 25ft mural was covered over by layers of wallpaper and paint.
Mr. Gray, 74, said he was “very excited” to have the chance to revisit the work and said he would introduce new elements into his landscape view of the falls, the highest of which is 28m (92ft) and which lie close t the World Heritage Site at New Lanark.
“I mean for the composition to be the same as far as possible,” said Mr. Gray. “One thing I did not have in the original was human figures and since I have a path along one side of the ravine I feel I’d like to put in some small figures.
“I have enjoyed many walks with friends here, especially at the weekends when Bonnington Power Station is switched off and the Clyde Falls can be seen with the full force that astonished Wordsworth and Coleridge.”
Best known for Lanark, his 1981 novel which won the Scottish Book of the Year award, Mr. Gray is also an accomplished playwright, poet and painter. He completed his first mural, Horrors of War, for the Scottish-USSR Friendship Society in 1957, while a student at Glasgow School of Art.
The painter reunited with his 1969 mural after being contacted by Andy Boyle, the businessman who refurbished and reopened the tavern in 2008 as The Riverside Bar and Restaurant. It lies downstream from the falls. “We believe the mural is an invaluable piece of Scottish art History,” said Mr. Boyle.