2nd November 2022

High level dec samples, plaster repair, facade stonework

With the paint investigation complete, and with the knowledge that the Cathedrals budget would be severely strained by the slow progress of the archaeology outside, we took our redecoration proposal to FAC, using simple photoshop visualisations to get their initial support.

The scheme is based on overpainting the existing modern paints, minimising stripping and removal, and keeping the existing scheme in many areas. However, the existing colours were deeply unsympathetic with the other elements of the building, so we proposed different hues, removing the yellow and replacing both red and green with more earthy tones.

The main areas of change proposed were to the crossing and chancel, with a more elaborate scheme sought by the cathedral to express the liturgical hierarchy of the spaces. Having mocked-up these digitally, we then started a process of testing the colours with physical samples, with on site review with a subgroup of FAC. To avoid removal of the 1980’s paint, which is well adhered, in places we decided to overpaint with a dark brown paint instead of removing the paint and trying to re-stain the timber to match.

As we could not remove the coatings from the tracery we suggested overpainting these with a darker buff tone, to emulate the exposed stonework elsewhere in the interior. We sampled a series of different moisture open and traditional paints: distempers, clay paints and lime paints, and in various colours. With FAC’s review and input finally deciding on a warm buff clay paint from Earthborn. Despite almost being put-off by the colour name ‘ Little Rascal’, this proved to have good coverage, reliable adhesion, and a suitable colour.

Having access to the upper walls allowed us to investigate the historic plaster, which turned out to be blown and/or cracked in numerous locations. Following a comprehensive survey we issued drawings of the areas to be removed and replastered in two-coat lime-sand plaster, matching the existing.

 

As the plaster would take some time to carbonate properly, and Messenger needed to strike the scaffold to meet their programme, we needed to find a finish that would not impede this process and potentially weaken the new plaster.

Trials with various limewashes, from different suppliers, showed these were too translucent to mask the difference between new and old substrates, and so for the general wall finishes we decided to specify Corical, a thicker lime-based paint, in a bespoke off-white shade.

On the south façade, Midland Stone Masonry completed the high-level repairs, including their new carved grotesques, the Longwool sheep among them.

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Within the cathedral, the alterations to the column bases were being executed whilst decorations and services were being installed above, the stainless steel floor boxes were being connected and the last elements of the limecrete slab installed around them.