The John Bellairs Mural is an outdoor mural in downtown Haverhill, Massachusetts, celebrating Bellairs and his association with Haverhill.  The mural, created by Massachusetts artist Sheila Foley, measures 7-feet by 3-feet and is painted in acrylic on to one of the old brick factory buildings.  It was unveiled in September 2008[1].

It is accessible in the alleyway alongside 35 Washington Street in Haverhill.

Mural Project

In 2007, Team Haverhill, an independent citizen action group, stared the Haverhill Mural Project and installed six outdoor murals on downtown historical buildings that depict the rich history and culture of that city. The following year project supervisors invited more artists the opportunity to create additional murals for inclusion as part of a downtown walking tour.


The design of the mural was made to look like a stained-glass window, inspired by the stained-glass windows of Canterbury Cathedral, particularly those of the Ancestors of Christ.  A number of other images from John’s life are included:

  • The Cronin House in Marshall, itself the inspiration for the Barnavelt’s house in The House with a Clock in its Walls.
  • A shield with the coat of arms of the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater.
  • A shield with an omega, a prominent object in House and symbol representing “the end”.
  • Books on a shelf.
  • John’s name is divided and written similar to the windows in Canterbury Cathedral.
  • The letters “FA”, the abbreviation for “Famous Author” that John referred to himself as.
  • Sheets of paper at his feet include some of his doodles.
  • The Latin phrase “sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangent" from his grave in Greenwood Cemetery.
  • Saint Fidgeta, the subject of his first book.

Foley says she chose John as her subject because of his writing for young adults. "I am also an author/illustrator and, like John, taught at a Catholic School. The more I read of John's work, the more I come to know him through his words, [and] the more I wish I'd known him. His intelligence and wit are legendary. I laughed out loud at Saint Fidgeta - it is so ridiculously true.[2]"


  1. Bellairsia: "The John Bellairs Mural" (Aug. 6, 2008)
  2. Bellairsia "Interview: Shelia Foley" (Sep. 25, 2013).