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The Mural

In 1956 local artist John Luke was commissioned, by the Rosemary Street architects, to create an extensive mural depicting the building of King Solomon's' Temple. To adorn the tympanum above the dais in the new Provincial Grand Lodge room. Upon completion of the building the mural was presented to the Province.

The result was to prove to be the artists largest work of his lifetime, measuring 9.4m. (24 ft) wide, and 2.1m. (5.3ft) high.

The picture is actually painted on three sheets of hard/plaster board which are bolted to the wall. A previous, smaller, mural is situated in the Belfast City Hall depicting local industry.


PGL room


John Luke (Royal Ulster Academy  (RUA) 1906-1975)

A painter of landscape and figure subjects, John Luke was born in Belfast on 16th January 1906, After attending Hillman Street National School, he worked as a riveters boy at the shipyard of Workman Clark and Co. Ltd. His next employment was with York Street Flax Spinning Co. Ltd, and there he heard by chance of the School of Art.

In boyhood he had painted King William on a gable wall in the approved manner. In 1923 he enrolled at the Belfast School of Art where he was awarded the Sorella Scholarship for 1926-27

In 1926-27 he painted a portrait of his sister Sadie, who was a schoolgirl at the time: it is now in the collection of the Newtownabbey Borough Council.

He went on to win the coveted Dunville award of 100 per annum, which enabled him to go to London for three sessions at the Slade School of Fine Art, where he studied under Professor Henry Tonks, and won the Robert Ross Scholarship.

After further studies in London and Paris, he returned to Ulster in 1931.

In 1952 Luke was commissioned to paint a mural in Belfast City Hall, a work that took 16 months to complete. In 1956 he was commissioned to paint his largest work a representation of the theme King Solomon building the Temple.

In 1963 John Luke moved to a flat in Duncairn Gardens.

He died at the Mater Hospital, Belfast on 4th February 1975.


Self pertrait

Self portrait

Historical site blue disk

Memorial Plaque

In 1988 a plaque was unveiled, by the Ulster Historical Circle, at 240 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast
in commemoration of his life and work.