Last week we finished documenting the Bloomsbury wall paintings at Berwick Church. We spent 3 weeks documenting every crack, flake, mould spot, salt blister, and bat dropping (or maybe woodpecker, they have made a dozen holes/nests in the spire, a common problem apparently!) . I don’t think I have ever looked at an artwork (or anything) for that length of time or under that amount of scrutiny.
Greg mapping/drawing Duncan Grant’s “The Triumph at Calvary”
We used close up photos of the paintings overlaid with acetate sheets and standing in front of the paintings themselves (viewed through magnifying optivisors) we drew on the acetate with coloured markers, . Each marker denoted a deterioration or deposit on the paint layer. Below is a couple of images we did of the Chancel painting, Quentin Bell’s ‘Wise and foolish Virgins’
Print out of a section of ‘The Wise and foolish virgins ‘ by Quentin bell with overlay drawing on acetate
Remove the photo from behind – result- a very informative and functional plan/map but also a rather beautiful but purposeful “wise and foolish” ‘abstract’ drawing too.
wise and foolish drawing on acetate
Bloomsbury wall paintings, Berwick Nov 2013
Actually its just under 3 weeks. A small team of us have just started a project on the Bloomsbury wall paintings at St. Michael of all Angels at Berwick. Painted by Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell during WWII, onto plasterboard (which had only been manufactured since 1930). Not the most stable of substrates. plasterboard is very absorbent and the constant changing interior environment seems to have played a big factor in their deterioration. There has also been previous restorations and structural changes during their relatively short lifetime. We will be documenting the previous interventions and deterioration over the next three weeks to better understand how the deterioration is developing and why it is happening in some areas and not others. And hopefully in the near future a treatment program can be implemented to prevent further loss.