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02 Dec


Wall Paintings at St Michael’s & All Angels Church, Skelbrooke

December 2, 2022 | By |

In the Autumn of 2016 Hirst Conservation were appointed to undertake a survey of the wall paintings within the Chantry Chapel at the Church of St Michael and All Angels, Skelbrooke, South Yorkshire. A comparative survey was undertaken on March 2021 to determine if any subsequent deterioration, prior to a planned programme of repair to the exterior of the chapel, had occurred.

The works were undertaken in two phases with initial emergency stabilisation and repair prior to the wider works to the chapel roof in 2021 followed by cleaning and careful retouching of the applied decoration after lime repairs had fully cured.

The secondary survey in 2021 found little evidence of any deterioration since the 2016 survey that had identified delamination of plaster to the east wall, wall fractures and associated localised loss of decoration, areas of paint delamination, salt efflorescence and micro-flaking.

Delamination of plaster to East wall

Emergency works in the summer of 2021 involved consolidation of the most vulnerable areas of flaking paint using an acrylic dispersion; grouting repairs to areas of delaminating and unstable lime plaster by consolidating with nano-lime then a lime mortar; removal of a large area of failing cementitious plaster to the east wall and removal of impermeable paint films that had been applied to the stonework that were trapping salts and causing disintegration to the stone and subsequently the applied decoration.

Plaster repairs to East Wall

Grouting repairs North Wall

Following contractor works to the chapel roof and the external walls we returned in 2022 to undertake further conservation works concentrating on the north and south walls. This involved dry and wet cleaning, paint consolidation, fracture and fine surface filling and careful reintegration of areas of loss or fill where the design of the wall painting was known. Additional salt efflorescence and paint delamination has occurred during the drying out process. These issues were addressed in this phase of work. Future works are planned for the timber ceiling as well as to the east and west walls to complete the conservation work to the chapel.

Cleaning in Progress on North Wall