Festival of Britain

Michael O’Connell created a large wall hanging (56m x 4m) for the Country Pavilion at the 1951 Festival of Britain. It is now in the possession of MERL – Reading University’s Museum of English Rural Life.

Variety of British Farming in the Country Pavilion at the 1951 Festival of Britain

Tanya Harrod has written about this work in The Crafts in Britain in the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press 1999, ISBN 978-0300077803).

MERL put a lot of material about O’Connell and the hanging on their website:
About the restored panels
More background information

The website has links to recordings made by Betty Clarke and Iris Dedman, who as the teenage Sheridan sisters were assistants to O’Connell at that time:
Interview with Betty
Interview with Iris

The MERL website also has images of a number of other O’Connell hangings, mainly later ones, but including Frenetic Activity, a section of the early Australian frieze Pandemonium, and one with a Scottish theme which was a trial for the Festival of Britain hanging.

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