‘The Artisan’ — Mural for the H. Fletcher Brown Vocational Technical High School
FES Title: Polytechnical Mural H. Fletcher Brown Vocational School
Alternate Titles: Known as: H. Fletcher Brown Mural
Date: 1938
Size: 84″H x 288″W
Medium: oil-Belgian-Linen
Type: mural
Inscription: lr: Frank E. Schoonover
Annotations: relined
Comments: relined TP 5/7/04; form 5/7/04; index;
relined and conserved by Twistback Conservators (PA)
Commentary: This mural was commissioned in January, 1938 by H. Fletcher Brown to be installed in the H. Fletcher Brown Vocational Technical School in Wilmington, Delaware. The central panel of the mural depicts figures of the painter-sculptor and the Creative Spirit who ever holds a lamp of learning. Men and women in medieval dress practicing a number of trades and crafts surround them. Many of the crafts depicted in the mural played an important role in Delaware in 1938. The side panels, installed in January 1939, function as illuminated manuscripts designed to explain the central panel.
Work began on the mural in early June 1938 in the Immanuel Church Parish House and later moved to the studios at 1616 Rodney Street. Schoonover worked over the summer and into the fall, making time for other illustration work during those months. The details of the mural are described meticulously in the day book entries beginning in May. The painting was installed in the school and both were dedicated on November 2, 1938.
When the school was scheduled to be demolished in 1981, the mural with the side panels were removed from the wall and stored. With the support of the Brown Vocational Alumni Association and the New Castle County Vo-Tech District, from 2000 – 2004 the mural and side pieces were conserved, re-stretched, and mounted on aluminum stretches by Twistback Conservatory. Under the sponsorship of the New Castle County Courthouse Art Committee, the mural and later the side panels were hung in the New Castle County Court House in Wilmington, Delaware in 2004. (archives)
Provenance: Commissioned for H. Fletcher Brown Vocational Technical School, Wilmington, Delaware
[1938]; Collection of the New Castle Country Vocational-Technical School District, Wilmington, Delaware