A SCULPTOR who was once commissioned by the Vatican to create a statue of the Madonna and Child has now decorated his local pub in the style of the Sistine Chapel.
Stephen Hines, who had a job showing tourists around the Vatican in Rome, in the early 1980s, swapped his chisel for a paint brush in a bid to put a Thornhill pub on the map.
And the influences of artists Michaelangelo and Botticelli are now evident in the mural in the tap room of the historic Savile Arms pub, Church Lane, which dates back to the 1770s.
Mr Hines, a 55-year-old former Morley High School teacher, has painstakingly researched and depicted local events dating back 20,000 years from cave dwellers, when the village was just a lake
And he has featured scenes from local history, incorporating regulars at the local on the pub walls.
Mr Hines a self-taught artist and sculptor, has even managed to portray alleged scandalous tales of the local Savile family, which involved a controversial marriage.
One of the star images is a horse previously owned by Mussolini which, according to tales, was part of the 1952 local pageant in the village.
The horse came into the pub during the parade.
The paintings also depict the tragedy to which struck the village in 1893 when 168 men and boys died at the local colliery.
Mr Hines was originally commissioned to paint one wall.
But the creative mastermind from Ossett had bigger plans. Ultimately he spent eight months on the project.
He said: "I had just finished doing a massive piece of work and I needed a diversion and fancied doing something a bit different.
"I started off just doing little bits on one wall and it just sort of grew from there.
"I would spend hours in the local library doing research about the history of the area.
As I researched, things started to happen in my mind."
Mr Hines created a sculpture for the Pope in 1983 after an Archbishop spotted his work at an exhibition in London and passed on a recommendation.
He said: "This was very different from my commission to create a statue of the Madonna and Child.
"The Pope had written through one of the Archbishops in London.
"He had mentioned my name and the Pope was very interested in my work, so asked me to create something for him.
"It was a once in a life time opportunity and I took it."
Licensees Hilary and David Oldfield have known Mr Hines for years and are featured in the paintings with their dog Pip.
Mrs Oldfield said: "As Stephen looked into the history of the pub and the village we discovered that no-one was allowed to drink in the tap room on a Sunday for years because it was on consecrated ground."