This oil on canvas mural was painted in 1929 by Leone C. Bradbury and depicts the Pied Piper of Hamlin. The dedication plaque for this mural reads:
The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Germany) is depicted in a stained glass window created for the church of Hamelin, which dates to around AD 1300. A piper, dressed in multicolored clothing was hired by the town to lure rats away with his magic pipe. When the citizens refused to pay for his services, he retaliated by using his flute’s magical power to lure the children out of the town just as he had done with rats.
“Pied Piper of Hamelin” is one of a set of nine murals painted in 1929 for the newly constructed Ellsworth Elementary School in Denver, Colorado. The entire set is now collectively titled “”Flights of Fancy.” The murals were wheat pasted to the walls of the kindergarten room and black borders were painted onto the wall around the edge of the canvas. The murals were commissioned by the building’s architect as part of construction costs. During that era commissioning art, especially murals, for school buildings in Denver Public Schools District No 1 (DPS) was considered to be an important and standard practice.
In 1995, prior to the building being demolished, all nine murals were removed from the walls, restored, cleaned, backed with canvas, put on stretchers, and framed by Hays Shoop, then a conservator with the Rocky Mountain Conservation Center at Denver University. DPS then hung seven of these murals in their administration building and two in an elementary school. In 2014 DPS gave all nine murals to El Paso County. They were hung in Centennial Hall.
Leone Bradbury grew up in Denver. She attended Yale University School of Art from 1926 to 1932 when she received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art. She painted murals for two other newly constructed DPS buildings. In 1930 Leone painted a 6’ x 30’ mural for the Bryant-Webster Elementary School kindergarten room. That mural was part oil on canvas and part paint on plaster. That same year she painter either four or five large murals for Steck Elementary School kindergarten. These were painted directly onto plaster walls. At a later date she also painted murals for the Lakewood Country Club and the Brown Palace Hotel. From 1932 to 1934 Leone was an art instructor at the University of Denver. In late 1934 or early 1935 she moved to New York City where she was the Art Director for the International Silk Guild. When World War II broke out she returned to Denver.
The photo below was taken in 1995 at the start of the conservation process when all nine murals were removed from Ellsworth Elementary school. This is the only mural of the nine that did not have a black border painted on the wall since it was pasted into a previously constructed brick outline in the wall above the room’s fireplace. (Source: Denver Post newspaper articles, Yale University Archives, Denver University Archives, Denver Art Museum archives, Hays Shoop – conservator with the Western Center for the Conservation of Fine Arts, Denver Public Library, and Centennial Hall dedication plaque)