Mystery of the Orkney murals

The Magnus murals

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The search is on to find out more about a series of murals recently spotted in Orkney which have their origin on Arran nearly 40 years ago.

Robert Osborne from Belfast is a regular visitor to Arran. Last month he was in Kirkwall and visited St Magnus Cathedral he spotted a series of murals depicting the story of St Magnus. And it turns out the murals were presented to the people of Orkney by the pupils of Arran High School in 1980 and he is keen to find out more.

In the first instance he contacted the cathedral custodian Fran Hollinrake. She told him: ‘From my understanding, the impetus came from a teacher at the school, a lady called Maureen Farquhar or Farquharson. She wanted to take her pupils to Orkney, particularly to the St Magnus Festival, which is held in the islands every June. It was not possible for her to justify the trip on its own merits, so she needed a reason for the children to come here. She hit upon the idea of making a work of art, which could be presented during the festival, and gifted to the cathedral.
These lovely painted panels were the result and they were duly presented by the Arran children in Orkney.
She added: ‘I remember someone telling me that they had spoken to one of the children (now an adult) only a few years ago and her abiding memory of Orkney was the great excitement caused by the fact that Kirkwall had a Woolworths!’
Now Robert has turned to the Banner to see if he can find out more. He wants to know: Who remembers completing the murals? Did anyone go to Orkney in 1980? Who organised the painting of the murals?

Anyone who can help Robert is asked to contact the Banner and we will put them in touch.

One side of the Magnus murals. B22magnus01

The other side of the Magnus murals. B22magnus02

An inset of the Magnus murals. B22magnus03

B22magnus02 B22magnus03