I once had the pleasure to carry out some work at St Fagans Museum in Cardiff. Here there was a rebuilt church, taken from Pontarddulais by the Loughor Estuary. Help was needed to recreate the interior to how it was and could have been in the 16th centuary. With colourful wall paintings and decorative gilding on the rood screen and loft. Along with Marc Hare from Cardiff I worked on the par-closed screen and font cover, aswell as some of the other building in the museum like the school house and castle.

A lot of work was put into the recreation and traditional techniques were used from start to finish to create as similar effect as possible. Pigments were hand ground into linseed oil and ranged from Indigo for the dark black areas, genuine Vermillion, Azurite and Lead Tin Yellow, some of these being highly toxic. I recommeded to used loose gold leaf with an oil size but was instructed to use transfer leaf with a japan size which created a very rough gilding.

The whole process was a great experience and I got to talk and explain to the public about what was happening as the work was carried out in St Teilo’s Church while it was still open. If you have a project involving a traditional building which is important to be treated in the correct manner, I’d be happy to discuss and advise on any decorative work required.

by Matthew Evans of Welsh Heritage Decor

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