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Design for a fresco for the children’s chapel in St James’ Church1929

by Ethel Anderson

The Children’s Chapel, or Chapel of St Mary and the Angels, is located in the crypt of St James Church on King Street, Sydney. Converted into a small chapel in 1929, the Turramurra Wall Painters Union, a group of amateur artists led by Ethel Anderson, were invited to decorate the walls. Their mural was based on the English carol I Saw Three Ships, transferred to a Sydney Harbour setting. 

Photographs by Harold Cazneaux were used to depict details of harbour landmarks and scenes, and the artists used the faces of family and friends as models.

This image of the Madonna and child, holding a toy sailing boat, shows the generous use of gold to mimic the richness of medieval illuminated manuscripts.