Your Wall Paintings?
Although less than 10% of all English churches now contain any surviving medieval wall paintings that still means there are a tremendous number to be found in the country. It also means that very many parishes have the responsibility of caring for these fantastic medieval survivals. Given the costs and complexities of conservation this can often feel like a terrible burden and responsibility. However, as many churches have demonstrated, it is also an amazing opportunity to discover and share information about the churches past - and the people who once lived and worked in your parish. In addition, medieval wall paintings can be a great attraction for your church, encouraging visitors, school trips and general tourism.
If you are responsible for a church that contains medieval wall paintings then their care and preservation is a high priority. Whilst it is important that we can see and enjoy these medieval masterpieces today, it is also vitally important that they are preserved for future generations to enjoy.
If your church contains surviving medieval wall paintings that you have any concerns about, or if you believe wall paintings have been discovered, your first action should be to contact your local Diocese Advisory Committee (DAC). This group contains specialists who will be able to advise you on what actions are needed and supply you with both information and support.
Information and guidance on the care of wall paintings, and their protection during building or conservation work, are available from a number of sources. Listed on this page are a number of publications and contacts that you may find useful.
The Church of England website advice page on the care of medieval wall paintings
The institute of Conservation's advice page on ‘The care and conservation of decorative schemes’.
Listed here are the English Heritage guidelines relating to the care of medieval wall paintings. As you will see, some of these guides actually relate to information that you will need only if undertaking conservation work within the church. Each booklet can be downloaded in PDF format. Simply click on each image to begin downloading.
‘Anticipating and responding to the discovery of wall paintings’
‘The production of wall painting conservation documentation’
‘Temporary protection of wall paintings during building works’