On 8th April, internationally renowned conservators Jane Rutherfoord and Eddie Sinclair returned to St. Mary’s Church with their colleagues, Oliver Murrell and Naomi Cox to undertake the meticulous conservation which will rejuvenate St. Mary’s hidden wallpaintings. St. Mary’s walls were once adorned with colourful wallpaintings which medieval worshippers would have recognised and understood. These include a rare depiction of the murder of Thomas Becket with horsed assassins approaching, images from the life of St. Christopher and a winged St. Michael weighing souls with the horned devil entwining his tail about them. Lime washed over as required by Elizabethan church reforms, these extensive and still tantalizingly visible wallpaintings require delicate work, both to stabilise the fragile plaster on which they are painted and to render them more legible.
This month Jane and her colleagues are beginning work inside the famous St. John Chapel which is crammed with elaborate family tombs. Their attention is turned to the highly decorated walls which replicate the appearance of marble and ceiling panels of blue sky and clouds. All have suffered from the build- up of grime and damage over the years as well as water penetrating the roof. Colours which seem subdued or obscured today will be transformed, reviving their former freshness and beauty.
If you would like to find out more about work in progress please look out for up and coming project events, talks and tours. We’d love to share our excitement with you.