Conservation

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The east wall of the Chapel contains painted depictions of eight saints in compartments that were originally windows but now form a reredos. Painted in 1864 by the firm Clayton & Bell, Saints Oswald, Etheldreda, Edmund, Edward the Confessor, Margaret of Scotland and Edward the Martyr flank two central figures of St Stephen and St Peter, shown in this photograph. In the central panel between St Stephen and St Peter is a painted cross surrounded by foliage (the Victorian brass cross standing in front of the painted one was a gift to the Chapel in the 1980s). Above this is a roundel showing Christ in Majesty.

A recent conservation survey has revealed earlier painted schemes concealed beneath the existing decoration in the Chapel. This photograph of the central panel containing the cross was taken while light was shone onto the wall at an angle to emphasize the obscured scheme by throwing the design into relief. Little is known of these earlier decorations but further examination of the paintings will hopefully reveal their hidden history.

Another significant set of wall paintings can be found in the Chapel’s octagonal Baptistery. Painted by Clayton & Bell in 1867 they depict Christ, Saints Mark, Luke and John, and angels with the instruments of the passion. Because this area sits below ground level the paintings have suffered some deterioration in the past caused by moisture seeping through the walls. This photograph shows a conservator working on one of the paintings where paint had flaked off. Through careful monitoring and treatment such as this they can be preserved for future generations.