The Magic Garden Mosaic

Francis created The Magic Garden,  a mixed – media tactile mural for New Kings Primary School, Fulham (formerly Holman Hunt School). Upon his first visit to the site he was struck by the lack of sensory stimulation and greenery within the school and surrounding area. His aim was to appeal to the children’s sense of wonder and to make learning fun.

The mosaic contained tiny printed images, letters and objects graded in height and scale for ease of use to the delight of the smallest to the latest child..


In 2008 the mural was recognised as a work of artistic and educational importance and was restored by the artist, Heritage of London Trust &  20th Century Society. Children were once again stunned by this fantastical work which is now much treasured by the school.

“In retrospect I do hope that the mural will foster a love of Gaia, the Mother Earth” . Re – Opening of The Magic Garden, Francis Sept. ’08

The Magic Garden – time line 

1960 Francis joined the Society of Mural Painters, as he was dedicated to the integration of the arts, and at the time no alternative organisation existed. Preparation for the mural – objects collected, tiles and mosaics printed  Dec 1960. Work on mural  between 14th Dec -14th Jan. Unveiling Ceremony  23 rd Mar. ’61.Restored by the artist, Heritage of London Trust and the 20th Century Society in 2008

A favourite poem by Joyce sent to the Artist ’61

there is a pattern, there is a snail

there is a fish, with a funny old tail


The brief, ‘to brighten up the school hall’ was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britian and London Council’s Art’s Scheme, who were a major post-war patron of British art. The mural explored themes of night and day.

“..I decided to bring colour, light and the vividness of nature into the school.. A plasterer and myself built an enclosure, where I sat up an ‘oriental bizarre’ for storing a great variety of objects collected over the months,tree bark, shells, mirrors, enamels, marbles, clocks, screen printed tiles and mosaics, casts, amongst others. they were applied in a leaf shaped relief.” Francis Carr ’61


Children wrote and told him how much they liked the mural.“Thank you very much for making the sun shine again in our magic garden. We all like it very much and enjoy looking at it. Thanks”. Letter to the artist from the children 2008

The Magic Garden, New Kings School , New Kings Rd,  Fulham, can be viewed by  appointment.

Reviews / Media

“..the colour and various glittering reflections draw the children……it will be e long time before they tire of discovering the fascinating and unexpected things it contains”.BBC broadcast for  Eye Witness by Richard Baker described the effect. ’61

“ By resurrecting a key piece of ‘child-centered’ design from post-war period , a piece that was interactive, stimulating and educational, we are also pointing to possible directions for the future of public and community art projects.” Twenty Century Society/ Autumn 2008 ‘CaseWork Reports ‘ by Jon Wright