The decorative scheme of paintings by the Bloomsbury artists Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell was commissioned by Bishop Bell of Chichester in 1941 at the height of World War II. Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England and former Director of the Tate says of the paintings: “…the remarkable decorative scheme in Berwick church is of national and even international importance. It is, critically, the only example in the country of the complete decoration of the interior of an ancient rural parish church by twentieth century artists of repute.”
Some 75 years on, the paintings, all painted on war-time plasterboard panels, are now in urgent need of conservation. The image to the left shows the deterioration of a part of ‘The Nativity’ mural. To conserve the paintings and stabilise their environment for the future, whilst developing the church’s vision of working creatively with small groups of vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals, the Berwick (Sussex) Conservation Trust has been established to assist the PCC in raising the sum of £950,000 required. This sum also includes a 10% contribution towards the establishment of an endowment fund for ongoing maintenance and activities.