MA Conservation student restores the St. Pancras Old Church reredos

Charlotte Jones, MA Conservation, worked earlier this year on the cleaning and restoration of the 19th century reredos at St. Pancras Old Church by the esteemed decorative artist Charles Edgar Buckeridge. The reredos is a triptych made from carved oak, with gilded and painted panels in a stylistic homage to 15th century religious art. The work was undertaken as part of a wider restoration project of the St. Pancras Old Church, including repainting, reviving flooring and the restoration of monuments and decorative works.

Charlotte’s work started with cleaning the piece. After trials were carried out to determine the method of cleaning, dust was removed with a thorough brush vacuum, followed by aqueous cleaning with TAC (an inorganic salt) solution, and de-ionised water for the timber. During this process, evidence of previous cleaning attempts during the reredos’ history became apparent with visible damage underneath the build-up of surface dirt.

Charlotte addressed the damage to the paint on some of the figures and gilding on the panels with infilling and in-painting over a barrier layer of resin. A new surface coating was also required on the painted figures to saturate the colour and stabilise the paint surface. Acrylic putty was used to infill surface losses, which were in-painted using Golden fluid acrylic colours. Under UV light, this makes the restored material distinguishable from the original oil paint. The most significant losses on the gilded panels were also re-touched using gold leaf and an acrylic size.

Charlotte commented to New Direction magazine: “This project was an absolute honour and so enjoyable. It’s always rewarding to uncover these pieces and see them come back to life”.


Find out more about our MA Conservation Course at one of our upcoming Open Days.

Applications now open for 2024/25 study.


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