10th February 2015
Scaffolding arrives. Start on Monday!
9th March 2015
Conservators on site. Richard Lithgow, Bianca Madden and Mark Perry. The Doom project is underway.
10th March 2015
Thanks to Julian Barbour for helping with tactful siting of the “facilities” for the conservators.
11th March 2015
As expected, the work of preserving the Doom will not show visible signs of progress for quite a while. Delicate work is in very small patches, with precision tools to match.
12th March 2015
There are 3 people working here. each on a separate small area. But despite scaffolding and ladders etc of a building site, it’s very quiet when you walk in.
13th March 2015
Initial cleaning of the surface already shows dramatic improvement in overall appearance.
17th March 2015
Injecting filler behind plaster that has separated from the stonework to secure it before further work can continue.
18th March 2015
Another area of “blown” plaster that will require attention.
19th March 2015
A single eye peers out at us from the fragile plaster.
20th March 2015
Cleaning an area with a very small swab to avoid damage to the surface
21st March 2015
The first fortnight of the scheduled 9 week project – and what great results there have been! The first basic water clean immediately brought back light and life to the surface (see Day 5) and very quickly previously invisible painted details from the Doom started to become evident. Most prominent are eyes and faces (see Days 5 and 8), but hands and even feet (see Day 7) were also uncovered. Although they look large in the pictures, they may only be very small parts in relation to the whole painting. Hopefully they will be distinct when finished and visible from below. Other features are more difficult to identify – angels’ wings, coffins, shrouds and fountains are all typical of Doom paintings. We will need the experienced eyes of our conservators to uncover these and show us how they fit into the Doom. To end Day 10 – another new face, this time with parts of the body showing as well.
24th March 2015
A figure from the “Heaven” side (left hand side) of the Doom, possibly one that was being carried by an angel.
25th March 2015
Praying hands, with the figure seemingly looking heavenward.
26th March 2015
Concentration, a steady hand and a scalpel – surgeon or conservator?
27th March 2015
Here you can clearly see the shaft and blade of a spear and the vague shape of the figure holding it.
28th March 2015
This bearded figure has been keeping an eye on the congregation for hundreds of years.
31st March 2015
Top half of a figure showing shoulder, neck and hand.
1st April 2015
Richard Lithgow thinks this area may be a representation of an angel blowing a trumpet – possibly a bit like the outline sketch in the corner. Work continues to see if better detail can be uncovered.
3rd April 2015
This picture clearly shows the plaster that had been skimmed over the painting at some earlier date, and which our conservators are slowly and carefully removing to reveal further details.
4th April 2015
Despite some sunshine during the past few days, the temperature in the church has still been very cold , and so it was usual to meet our conservators in their coats, woolly hats and fingerless gloves! Work during the past four weeks has progressed very well, and Richard Lithgow is very pleased with what details of the painting have been uncovered so far.Easter is time for a some reflection and well earned break. Hopefully the weather will warm up the fabric a bit and make the inside just a little more comfortable. Services will of course continue as scheduled over this period.
8th April 2015
Our conservators believe this item (jagged edge in black) to be a saw – the attribute of St Simon. In art, Simon has the identifying attribute of a saw because he was traditionally martyred by being sawn in half!
9th April 2015
This is an Angel’s wing – we hope we can uncover a bit more
10th April 2015
A figure peers out from a shroud (recognisable by the gathered top above the face).
11th April 2015
Some indications of another , as yet, unidentified part of the painting. This picture though is a good example of the fragile state of the paint bearing plaster on many parts of the chancel wall.
14th April 2015
As well as working on the painting, Richard Lithgow is using his experience to trace around fragments of faces and itmesso that we can understand more fully where they fit into the overall painting. This will be invaluable when we come to prepare display boards and leaflets.
15th April 2015
Now cleaning is compete and most detached plaster has been “fixed” back to the wall, some of the larger cracks can be filled. The white plaster will be toned back with lime wash of an appropriate shade when dry.
16th April 2015
This shows the painting representation of a piece of the hair coat worn by John the Baptist
17th April 2015
Another small face and hands start to appear.
19th April 2015
Something that was unexpected – this is a skull! Even though it does not have a very distinct outline, it’s easy to see the eye sockets, nose and mouth.
20th April 2015
A major crack before and then part way through repair.
21st April 2015
The blade of the spear is (as shown on day 14) is now very clear.
23rd April 2015
This representation of a plant on the south side of the chancel arch is not part of the “Doom” painting, but is certainly part of the history of the wall paintings in the church and will be cleaned and conserved. We will try and find out what it represents.
24th April 2015
The bottom right hand corner of this photograph shows part of the “boundary” between heaven and earth, that souls would cross to enter into heaven. This probably would have stretched the full width of the painting.
28th April 2015
These two faces have always been just visible. Now they are clear, better defined, and much more expressive.
29th April 2015
Here you can see the outline of a scourging post with crossed staves leaning across it – one the spear and the other with a sponge on the end.
30th April 2015
What was previously only a disembodied hand is now clearly identifiable as a kneeling figure.
2nd May 2015
The Scales of Justice (with a necessary plaster repair going through the middle).
3rd May 2015
He’s back!! (see day 15).
8th May 2015
This looks like the final week of this project and at this stage our conservators do not think that there are any more “finds” to make.So work will concentrate on the final tinting and sympathetic matching of ares of new lime plaster that have been necessary to make crack repairs as shown in this picture.
9th May 2015
Some parts of the religious texts and writings still remain although most were removed during earlier uncovering of the painting. Here is a memorial to a previous church warden, dating from 1822, which on close examination still shows the guidelines drawn by the signwriter.
10th May 2015
These figures on the north wall of the nave formed part of the overall painting scheme but could have come form an overpaint at a later date.
11th May 2015
A final find! This headless figure (the dark red area) appears to be wearing a sort of doublet and is on the right hand side of the painting – i.e. that area that represents Hell. As it is quite a large figure it could show a stylised devil.
12th May 2015
We hope that you will be able to come and visit and see this preserved painting and all the other wall paintings at some time – visitors to our church in its delightful setting are always welcome. Please note that we have an Open Day on June 6th (10am – 5pm) when the conservators will be around to explain and answer questions, All are welcome!