James grover illustration birstall 2

Joseph Priestley, Chemist Mural

Client: Zizzi Restaurants


This mural, commissioned by Zizzi Restaurants, was inspired by Joseph Priestley, a chemist and philosopher born in Birstall in 1733. Priestley is famous for discovering oxygen or as he called it at the time,‘dephlogisticated air’.

The illustration is made up of 18th-century chemistry equipment and features a quote by Joseph Priestley (he was also a well-published writer of over 150 works theorising politics and society). On the left-hand side at the beginning of the quote there is the first part of his experiment to show the existence of oxygen - a candle which goes out when in a sealed bell jar. On the far right is the end result or ‘bit of magic’ where he shows how an oxygen-emitting plant keeps the candle lit in the same environment.

The work was produced on-site entirely by hand using acrylic paint pens.

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