Old and new come together for this spectacular work of art.
Bristol is no stranger to a mural, especially with numerous street artists emerging from this wonderful city. However, there’s a brand new mural on the block (or should we say, archway). Designed by Bristol artist Andy Council, a stunning new mural that weaves in symbols from Bristol’s rich history has been revealed in the medieval archway leading to the Old City.
Andy Council has created a colourful piece celebrating the city’s unique history on the two pedestrian side arches under the Church of St John on the Wall between Broad Street and Quay Street. The artwork depicts four beasts made up of architectural landmarks found in the Old City area, as well as some of the architectural features found inside St John’s crypt, and is part of a wider programme of artist commissions connected to the pedestrianisation of the Old City.
Speaking about his latest work, Andy Council said: “The Old City has so many great buildings that I have referenced in this piece of work – I have been keen to do something involving them for some time. The landscapes are in the forms of heraldic beasts due to the church being from the 14th century. The pieces are intended to look like illuminated manuscripts, but with a modern twist.’’
The mural was commissioned by Bristol City Council, in partnership with the Churches Conservation Trust, which manages the church, with the aim of refreshing the archway and celebrating the history of the area. Costing just under £6,000, the new piece was paid for by Section 106 funding – a levy paid to the community by developers.
This new artwork by Council, who’s artwork is currently being featured at M Shed as part of the Vanguard Bristol Street Art exhibition, replaces a mural painted by artists Paris and Feek in 2008 that was no longer in good condition. During the coming months, several temporary installations from local artists will be installed as part of the project celebrating the area’s heritage.
Elise Hurcombe, a senior arts officer in Bristol City Council’s culture team, said: “The Old City area of Bristol is changing as we focus on giving more space to the businesses, visitors and shoppers in this historic area and we want to ensure it is attractive to citizens and visitors as the recovery from the economic effects of the pandemic continues.
“It is also important to reflect the history of the area and we have worked closely with the Churches Conservation Trust to try and ensure we celebrate this heritage. As part of his research, the artist Andy has spoken to volunteers who help to open St John on the Wall to visitors about the history of the site. Their knowledge has been invaluable and their suggestions have helped to shape the design.’’
Part of the artwork will reference the route of ‘St John’s Conduit’, marking a water supply that once served the old walled city of Bristol. From Brandon Hill, the water ran through pipes down Park Street, emerging at St John on the Wall church on Quay Street.