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Wall Painting



Hirst Conservation undertakes the recording, analysis and conservation of wallpaintings from the Middle Ages to the 19th Century, in various techniques from ‘true frescos’ to oil paintings executed on plaster. The dedicated team includes conservators who specialise in the treatment of wallpaintings, trained to post-graduate level.

The services offered for the treatment of wallpaintings include:

  • Comprehensive condition surveys, including photographic and diagrammatic recording. This includes assessment of previous treatment documentation and archival records
  • Analysis of the fabric to inform and facilitate treatments, including the measurement of moisture levels within the stonework
  • Discrete sampling of the plasterwork to determine soluble salt content, hygroscopicity and aggregate/binder content
  • Environmental recording of relative humidity, absolute humidity (vapour pressure), temperature and dew points, which have an important bearing on the stability of the wallpainting

Treatments to the substrate include:

  • Structural consolidation of areas showing granular disintegration
  • Consolidation of flaking, scaling and delamination between plaster layers
  • Mortar repairs to losses within the plaster and to fractures

Treatments to the paint layers:

  • Consolidation of flaking and/or powdering paint layers
  • Removal of surface coatings including dirt, over-paint and inappropriate retouching
  • Sympathetic retouching of losses

Some of our projects include:

  • St Mary the Virgin Church, Studley Royal Church – Conservation of 19th century wall painting. Removal of distemper from interior walls followed by limewash application.
  • All Saints Church, Cambridge – Conservation of 19th century wall painting.
  • Saracen’s Head, Southwell – Conservation of 17th century wall paintings.
  • St Peter’s Church, Clayworth – Conservation of wall paintings by Phoebe Traquair and creation of new scheme of frescoes.