The Herne Hill Mural - More News...

Take a canvas measuring 40m x 2m, add over 2,300 artists, eight local schools, a World Record attempt and lots of sticky paint - what could possibly go wrong?

Finding a home for the mural

  • Gathering over 2,000 people together in one place to paint on a huge colour-by-numbers canvas required a particular location. Thanks to the lovely people at Southeastern Rail, we were allowed free occupancy of their disused waiting room on the first floor of Herne Hill Station.

Finishing the painting

  • After the World Record Days in mid-September, painting went on until the end of November 2018 and was completed by the artist with the assistance of dozens of volunteers. Our thanks to one and all.

 Getting it on the wall

  • Thereafter, delay was caused by the challenges involved in working out a way to glue the original safely to the underpass wall. The mural fabric would be corroded by the use of a strong, fast-acting adhesive. Furthermore, the underpass is a fire escape for the station, so requiring a glue ‘zero rated’ for flammability. The only product available that was non-corrosive and met the fire regulations unfortunately also required an ambient temperature of at least 18 degrees over an eight-hour period to set. During that time, the canvas would need to be held in place and checked for slippage and sagging until the glue cured.
  • By reproducing the artwork in High Definition onto durable vinyl we opened up a much wider range of options which enabled the reproduction mural to be easily and quickly glued into place, without waiting for summer, without risk of slippage or damage to the original, and without the need to close or heat the underpass.
  • But most importantly, it also means that we won't lose the original to the graffiti and tagging for which the underpass is notorious.
  • In addition, the vinyl is water resistant and so better able to withstand the rain water that drips from the underpass ceiling and down the walls from the tracks overhead. The original mural fabric is fragile in comparison and would have been prone to rotting, even when treated with varnish.   
  • Another advantage of the vinyl reproduction is that, if any sections do get damaged, they can be reproduced and replaced, giving the work greater longevity than the original.

Copyright and reproduction

  • Copyright in the artwork rests with the artist, Victor Szepessy, and the commissioner has reproduced it under its ‘License permission for perpetuity’.
  • Please acknowledge Victor’s copyright if photographing the mural.

What of the original?

  • The Herne Hill Forum owns the original canvas.
  • We intend to hang the original somewhere local, safe, dry and public; possibly in the newly opened community space above Herne Hill Station (the room where the mural was originally painted),  Station Hall.  
  • In the meantime, the reproduction gives everyone a chance to see the mural and put their finger on the bit they coloured without further delay or risk of damage.

  • Photo Credit: Amit Lennon