Mahoney was commissioned to produce a mural scheme for the Lady Chapel at Campion Hall in 1941. The scheme
was to be made up primarily of three large panels: the Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds, the Coronation of the
Virgin, and Our Lady of Mercy. In detail and composition the paintings owe much to early Italian example. The most
notable case is Our Lady of Mercy (Autumn), clearly inspired by Piero della Francesca’s altarpiece at Borgo San
Electing to paint directly onto canvas fixed to the walls and by daylight hours only, the project inevitably became
drawn out ‚Äì Mahoney could only work in situ during the Easter and summer vacations when he was not teaching.
The project continued into the following decade and coincided with a serious decline in the artist’s physical health.
In spite of these problems, Sir John Rothenstein, who chose to reproduce one of the murals as a plate in British Art
since 1900 (1962, pl.60), was moved to describe the scheme as ‚Äúsecond ‚Ä¶.. only to that by Stanley Spencer at
Burghclere‚Äù. A full account of the circumstances of the commission and some of the problems involved can be
found in Sir John Rothenstein’s Tribute to Mahoney in the catalogue of the Memorial Exhibition held at the
Ashmolean Museum in 1975.
For drawing, Mahoney liked a textured paper, soft to the touch, such as Ingres, or still better, hand-made papers from
firms such as Hayle Mill or Barcham Green. Occasionally he bought cheap sketchbooks from Woolworth’s because
he found the paper so sympathetic as a surface for drawing. For his earliest drawings he used mainly B or 2B
pencils, but he later preferred Black Prince or carbon pencils. He often used charcoal, adding white or red crayons to
highlight drawings. Sometimes he combined these with conté crayons or pastels. For his later drawings he preferred
pen and wash, taking great trouble to mix and dilute his inks until he achieved the required tone and colour. His
drawing pens were either reservoir nibs in holders or else cartridge pens.