Over the past few months, activity on site at Calverley Old Hall has been very busy as we push through towards the more advanced stages of the restoration project.
One of the things that we are asked about the most on our open days is what is happening with the painted chamber. For the past year, work in this area has been minimal, in order to disturb the room as little as possible whilst all of the major building works have been going on around it.
However, we are now at a stage in the works where we can begin to focus more on this area of the building. Over the past few weeks, we have begun with our initial cleaning works on the paintings, using non-invasive techniques to remove layers of centuries-thick dust and grime which is currently covering the painted scheme.
Initial cleaning works have revealed details on the paintings which were previously invisible to the naked eye.
We have also removed the timber batons which were added when the paintings were covered in the early 20th century, as well as infilling any areas where plaster had been lost.
This has allowed us to get a more cohesive view of the room, meaning that we can now form a better understanding of how the paintings work together as a decorative scheme.
20th-century timber batons previously obscured the view of the painted scheme, which were themselves remnants of the plaster and lath used to cover the paintings, allowing it to be used for many years as a normal bedroom with little clue of what lay underneath.
These timber batons have now been removed as part of the initial conservation works in this chamber, allowing us to see the scheme in its full glory.