Hanly Mural, Christchurch Town Hall


Patrick Hanly (1932-2004) was an important New Zealand artist who played a major part in invigorating New Zealand art in the Twentieth Century. The mural “Rainbow Pieces” (1971) at Christchurch Town Hall, commissioned by Sir Miles Warren, is recognised as a significant work. It is much loved for its vibrancy and its reflection of the building’s function.

Huge 50 panel artwork painted on ¾ plycopene (similar to MDF) panels, which are affixed to the four exterior walls of the Conference/Victoria room inside the lobby of the Town Hall. The paint is an oil-modified alkyd paint or house paint, commonly used by Hanly in this period.

Emily Fryer Conservation was responsible for the treatment, protection and removal and reinstatement of the mural as part of the Town Hall Conservation Project from 2012 to 2019.

The paint was degrading and flaking and the environmental conditions in the building post earthquake exacerbated this degradation resulting in the need to remove the mural for the major works in the Town Hall and treat the flaking prior to rehanging. The rehanging system allows panels to be removed individually for treatment in the future. Many thanks goes to Canterbury Museums exhibition technicians who assisted in the reinstatement.

Emily’s talk at PechaKucha Christchurch