Shrewsbury Cathedral conservators find hidden paintings

Shrewsbury Cathedral conservators find hidden paintings

Colourful 19th Century wall paintings hidden by paint for about 70 years have been found at Shrewsbury Cathedral.

Conservators found images of biblical scenes and saints after chipping away two layers of paint which were applied during alterations in the 1950s.

They are working on a project aiming to return the interior of the Shropshire church to its “former glory”.

The paintings by Catholic designer Joseph Aloysius Pippet were found around the altar and sanctuary.

It is thought they can be recovered and conserved for the future.

The largest painting, on the sanctuary arch, shows Christ “seated in glory” in the presence of the Virgin Mary and St Joseph.

Three sections of another painting show the Archangel Gabriel visiting the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation.

Sophie Andreae, of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said finding the paintings intact was “very exciting”.

“The careful current restoration project, which will see the unsympathetic alterations carried out in the 1970s and 1980s reversed and the interior of Shrewsbury Cathedral restored to its former glory, is an inspiration,” she said.

Ms Andreae said a “growing appreciation” of historic Catholic church buildings had led to a re-evaluation of such work and a “desire to restore beauty and colour to our buildings”.

Thousands of neo-Gothic revival floor tiles covered up by carpets were also found.

“Perhaps the most exciting prospect remains to be seen,” added James Crowley, architectural historian and secretary of the Wales and Herefordshire Historic Churches Committee.

“I am hopeful that further work by the conservators will establish that extensive sections or even the whole scheme might be recovered, increasing the aesthetic quality of the interior and serving as an aid to the practice of our faith.”

Leave a Reply