Treatment of plaster behind NW wall paintings July 2017

Treatment of plaster behind NW wall paintings July 2017

Treatment to stabilise the plaster on which there are special Medieval and Reformation wall-paintings was undertaken in July 2017.

As part of the Church of England ‘100 Treasures‘ initiative, the conservationist Peter Martindale returned to St. Mary’s. He secured the plaster work behind some of the wall-paintings. This follows up on the recommendations Peter made in his 2016 report on the condition of the wall-paintings.

Treatment was to an area at the west end of the north wall of the church, up to the second window, where there are Medieval and Reformation wall-paintings. These wall-paintings had been identified in Peter’s report as being in danger of further deterioration and possible loss if remedial action wasn’t taken.

July 2017 - Scaffolding for Peter MartindaleScaffolding was required for Peter to safely access and carry out the treatment to the higher parts of the walls. It was also required to brace the specialist pressure pads Peter used to hold the wall during drying of the lime-based grouting. The special grouting is injected behind weak or flaking areas of plaster. In the picture, that looks west towards the main entrance to the church, can be seen the scaffolding structure used. The left side is just there to prevent any movement of the working platforms on the right, hence the bracing poles across the aisle.

Conclusion of Wall-Painting Survey

July 2017 Wall-painting survey

Peter concluded the week’s work by following up on his initial study of the wall-paintings by completing the survey of rest of the church. This was because of the volume and extent of the wall-paintings in the church Peter had run out of time in his Dec 2016 assignment.

July 20917 Wall-painting survey at East end of Church

This survey involves detailing the condition of the plaster and the paint. Peter also test cleans small areas to assess the level of dirt. These cleaned patches can be seen throughout the church if you look closely enough. We are expecting Peter’s second report on the wall-paintings later this summer

We are expecting Peter’s second concluding report on the wall-paintings later this summer. This will give us a complete record of the condition of wall-paintings in the church and an accompanying action list for the major restoration work, that will eventually include the cleaning of all wall-paintings.

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Wall Paintings in national “100 Treasures”

Wall Paintings in national “100 Treasures”

Church Care (http://www.churchcare.co.uk ) have a project to repair or restore 100 Treasures  across 12,500 listed churches in the nation. The wall paintings in Aldermaston Church have been designated one of those 100 Treasures. Funding has been provided by Church Care for the a conservation study of these paintings followed by any remedial work required.

The study was initiated in 2015 and we met with Church Care today to discuss the report and the recommended next steps in getting the remedial work agreed and scheduled.

As ever with ancient and listed buildings there is a lot of careful consideration and discussion on what should be done but we have planned the first phase of this remedial work for the late summer of 2016. Other remedial work is dependant on other activities within the main project and will be delayed.

Examples:

a) DAMP is a major issue in old churches like ours and is a major contributor to deterioration of wall-paintings. First we need to study the environmental and building factors that may be producing damp, then make the necessary remedial work to prevent damp before securing the wall paintings. Otherwise any remedial work on the paintings will inevitably be temporary if damp is still present.

b) The cleaning of the wall-paintings will not take place until other works like new heating and lighting have been completed … we don’t want to clean them twice!

Related Post: 2014 – Grant for Conservation of Wall-Paitings

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Grant for Conservation of Wall-Paintings

Several of Aldermaston Church’s medieval wall paintings will be conserved thanks to a grant from the Headley trust.

Extract from Church Care Quarterly Review from July 2014

… With grateful thanks to The Headley Trust, a grant of £60,000 will support work
to conserve the wall paintings in two historic churches.

St. Christopher

13th Century Painting of St. Christopher in Aldermaston Church

The walls of St Mary, Aldermaston in Berkshire are scattered with medieval paintings
depicting amongst them the images of St Christopher, The Annunciation and
St Thomas of Beckett. The second church to benefit from the award is the
15th century church St Breaca in Breage, Cornwall. The church has fabulous wall
paintings which depict the figures of St Christopher, St Hilary, St Corentine and
St Ambrose. We can now commission surveys to inform the next stages.

 

 

The wall paintings date from the earliest centuries of the churches existence (13th & 14th)

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