As we delve deeper into the history of the Peter Yates mural Day and Night,Winged Bulls we are finding some of the likely reasons why the mural was overpainted. Graffiti uncovered by Tom and his team gives us a much greater understanding of the life of the mural. Although none of the residents remember the mural being in such a bad state or repair, it clearly has had some significant vandalism. This gives us a motive for the overpaint that took place sometime before the 1980s.
Another surprising aspect of the mural’s past is uncovered in this image. The top line of the bull’s wing has been drawn 3 times. This means there are three phases to this mural i.e. it has been overpainted twice! You can see on the below images that the conservation team have labeled the three phases 1, 2 and 3.
Tom and his team have found that the first phase of the mural was completely whitewashed out although there is no evidence for the illusive missing wing on the bull. The second phase of the mural was abraded before the third was painted. This could support the theory that Peter Yates could have painted the first phase of the mural with a two winged bull, painted the second phase of the mural with a one winged bull and then after a period of significant damage and vandalism, the mural was copied, abraded and then completely overpainted with the third phase some time before the 1980s.
More graffiti was uncovered as the restoration process continued and the reasons for the overpainting of the scheme became more and more evident. You can listen to Tom Organ’s talk to find out how the team dealt with all this damage to the original mural.