Help us Save England's Wall Paintings
With irreplaceable centuries-old paintings at risk, English Heritage is appealing for donations to conserve our country’s painted history.
England's wall paintings are at risk, with a catalogue of threats causing them to deteriorate. English Heritage yesterday launched an appeal to support the conservation of these irreplaceable treasures and is calling on the public for support.
The Charity cares for 77 wall paintings, the country’s largest and most significant collection. This collection stretches as far back as the painted walls at Lullingstone Roman Villa in Kent and includes the Victorian gothic decoration at St Mary’s Church Studley Royal in North Yorkshire. Many of the wall paintings in the collection are at medieval abbeys, priories and churches, ranging from simple decoration to large-scale religious scenes and include the internationally-important art at St Mary’s Church, Kempley in Gloucestershire.
At Risk And Under Siege
From the damp English climate, to failed early 20th-century restoration attempts to the very buildings they are housed in, these irreplaceable artworks – some even older than those in the Sistine Chapel – are at risk from a number of factors and each faces a unique combination of threats, including:
- The weather: Unlike the well-preserved paintings in France and Italy’s warmer climates, England’s wall paintings are being increasingly affected by damp and wetter weather which is causing damage to their fragile structure.
- Poor past restoration: Advances in conservation practice have shown that previous restoration efforts from the early 20th century have in fact done more harm than good as substances such as soluble nylon (originally intended to prevent damage) are causing increased flaking.
- The ancient buildings they are in: Unlike traditional paintings on canvas, wall paintings are fixed to their historic surroundings, meaning that they face all the challenges faced by their centuries-old buildings.
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