The two beautiful paintings hanging on either side of the altar in St Mary’s Church. On the left the painting depicts the death of St Joseph, and on the right the painting depicts the Annunciation.
In 19th century Ireland there were not many artists and craftsmen. Italian artists emigrated to Ireland, and one such artist came to live in Belfast. He was a talented painter and muralist and had a studio close to Chapel Lane. He was commissioned to paint the works of art for the opening of the new church.
About six years ago the paintings were restored in situe by experts in art restoration, one of them from the Tate Gallery. The paintings could not be removed from the walls so all work was carried out on scaffolding. The painting of the Sacred Heart was restored at the same time – and the beauty of the paintings was revealed for all to admire.
Some time ago, we had the honour to welcome to the church the granddaughter of the Italian artist.