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08 Jan


Fine Art – Cheltenham College Chapel

January 8, 2019 | By |

It has been a busy year in the fine art conservation department.  We have been dealing with several projects to include the restoration of paintings at Cheltenham College Chapel and undertaken in-situ condition surveys, studio assessments and various other works.

We have been involved in the conservation programme of the Cheltenham College Chapel paintings for some years, and last summer we completed works to three more of the marouflaged canvases by James Eadie Reid dating from the early 20th century.

The paintings depict biblical scenes and are executed in oil paint on canvas.  Moisture ingress has resulted in several issues to include flaking, loss of paint layers, delamination of the canvas and blanching.  Further damage was caused by abrasive cleaning or aggressive removal of varnish in the past.

The treatment of each painting differed in detail depending on their individual condition and requirements, however in principal treatment involved surface cleaning, the consolidation of flaking paint, stabilisation of the delaminated canvas and filling and retouching.  A reversible, final varnish was applied to provide uniform saturation and long term protection.

The removal of surface dirt was a particularly satisfying process, as it restored the original luminosity of paintings and re-focused the scenes on the most significant figures.

Workshop treatments included paintings from the Usher Gallery in Lincoln but also several items from a private collection that had been devastated by fire.

Surveys involved UV light assessment as well as microscopic analysis of paint samples.  Further advanced analysis has been commissioned for the next phase of investigations.

18 Oct


Wentworth Woodhouse: First Phase Investigations and Surveys

October 18, 2018 | By |

Hirst Conservation have been undertaking a number of surveys at the glorious Wentworth Woodhouse outside Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Once a family home, the house was acquired by the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) in 2017. Renowned as once the largest private stately home in the country, the east front boasts a magnificent 600 foot long façade.

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13 Sep


Laser Cleaning External Alabaster: High Speed Timelapse

September 13, 2018 | By |

Work on this unique alabaster archivolt of the Norman doorway dating from ca. 1160 is underway at St Mary’s Church, Tutbury, with a programme of pre-consolidation and meticulous laser cleaning. We couldn’t resist documenting the dramatic transformation with some very high speed time lapse recordings. Read More

12 Jul


Medieval Pavement in Lichfield Cathedral Library

July 12, 2018 | By |

Lichfield Cathedral library is a unique space with a rare example of preserved medieval floor pavement. We were thrilled to assist architect Robert Kilgour and Greenwood Projects with the proposal to make the library accessible to a wider audience by initially undertaking a condition assessment of the floor tiles followed by conservation treatments to the tiles within the main room of the library.

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25 Jun


A 200 Piece Jigsaw in Limestone and Alabaster Reconstructed for Buxton Museum

June 25, 2018 | By |

Following damage in 2017 we were appointed by Derbyshire Borough Council to undertake works to the White Watson Tablet. The small but beautifully crafted plaque (1794) from Buxton Museum depicts folded and faulted strata of Ecton Hill on one side with various rock types in a pattern on the other, fashioned in local rocks and minerals, e.g. Crinoidal limestone, richly veined and coloured alabaster, with crystals of galena and haematite used to define the fault lines.

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15 Jun


HMS Warrior: Uncovering the Last Victorian Iron Hulled Warship

June 15, 2018 | By |

In the spring of 2018 our architectural paint researcher started a programme of research to the interior of The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s HMS Warrior at which has been on display at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for over 30 years.

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18 May


Conservation of Two Oil Paintings: Clausen & Warrener for Usher Gallery, Lincoln

May 18, 2018 | By |


We were delighted to be asked to undertake the conservation of two wonderful oil paintings held by the Usher Gallery, Lincoln, by their Collections Officer Dawn Heywood.  The paintings, Mowers by George Clausen RA and Un Aveu by William Tom Warrener, were treated at Hirst Conservation’s studios.

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14 Mar


Lead testing using XRF analysis

March 14, 2018 | By |

XRF analysis can be a useful tool in determining the presence of lead in historic paint films. A portable handheld XRF ‘gun’ on site, allows a large number of samples to be tested in a relatively short period of time, and also has the benefit of being non-destructive. Read More

02 Feb


St John the Evangelist, Sharow

February 2, 2018 | By |

Just in time for the Christmas celebrations we completed a programme of conservation and restoration works to two wall paintings in the nave of the church of St John the Evangelist in Sharow, North Yorkshire for PPIY Architects and Walter West Builders. Read More

01 Feb


Insole Court, Cardiff: Ceiling Stabilisation

February 1, 2018 | By |

We were delighted to return Insole Court in January, and complete the stabilisation of some unusual large scale anaglypta wallpaper panels, which had previously suffered significantly from water damage, and in some areas had to be removed to allow for essential stabilisation and repairs to the ceiling, itself a combination of both lath and plaster and highly degraded hessian reinforced plaster panels.  Read More

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