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Nave Ceiling, Ely Cathedral

The magnificent painted timber ceiling in the nave of Ely Cathedral was painted between 1858 and 1862 by Henry Styleman le Strange, a gentleman artist from Hunstanton and completed, following his death, by Thomas Gambier Parry.

Repair work to the fabric of the nave was begun in January 1987, for which a suspended scaffold was inserted below the ceiling.  This provided the opportunity for a programme of inspections, analysis and conservation work to be undertaken to the magnificent painted timber ceiling.

Following detailed condition appraisals of all areas of the ceiling, including paint analysis and environmental recording, as well as extensive cleaning trials, conservation work commenced.  Works included dry cleaning using Wishab sponges; further cleaning using various specially formulated solvents and reagents, consolidation of loose and flaking paint, localised filling and retouching.