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28 Jan


Tutbury, Priory Church of St Mary, Alabaster Archivolt

January 28, 2019 | By |

Previously reported, the phase of works to include the initial consolidation of the most friable areas of the alabaster archivolt and laser cleaning of these unique stones has now been completed.

Work included further consolidation with nano-line soles, securing of detached alabaster fragments using a spot fixing method with acrylic resin as well as grouting and fine mortar repairs utilising a dispersed lime binder suspended in ethanol and suitable aggregates.  The great variation of colours within each individual stone presented a significant challenge and although the intention was not to disguise the areas of repair, our aim was, by using a variety of coloured repair mortars, to achieve a visual balance between areas of repair and the original stone surface.  Coloured shelter coats were implemented in areas of shallow loss and micro fractures and several degraded stones where the original carved surface has been completely lost.  This is in order to protect the vulnerable surface and to act as a sacrificial layer.

Although the main focus of our conservation work was the alabaster arch, grouting and filleting repairs were also carried out to the most vulnerable sections of the sandstone elements.  To ensure that rainwater is adequately discharged away from the face of the doorway, repointing was carried out to the hood-moulding and string course above the arch.  A specialist contractor improved and extended the lead covering to the window sill and also to the string course above the door.  To see the results of our labour please go and visit Tutbury!

Stone No.7

Stone No.16

Stone No.4 Grouting

Stone No. 22

Temporary surface protection using cyclododacane melt and gauze

Fileting repairs to friable sandstone

Repointing to hood-moulding and improved land extended lead covering