Apollo’s Norfolk Church Restoration Road Trip

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By Lewis Brown

We had the pleasure, at the request of Dr Lucy Wrapson from The Hamilton Kerr Institute, to capture infrared reflectograms, using the Apollo camera of a rood screen in South Norfolk that she is trying to restore back to some of its former glory.

The Apollo camera at the heart of the Norfolk Church restoration.

This Norfolk Church restoration is needed as only 14 panels from the base of the rood have survived the harsh conditions of the English weather and the occasional bird droppings over the last 500 years. These incredible medieval wood panel paintings are found in the Foulden All Saints Church nestled in the idyllic Norfolk countryside. Much to our bewilderment these treasures have been painted over to look like ordinary wood panels, six of which have not been treated to remove the top three layers of paint, but the other eight panels are in the process of being cleaned and restored.

In our discussions with Lucy we learnt that Norfolk has the highest concentration of these types of artworks in England, some very interesting facts about the different saints (Catherine, Margret, canonised Henry VI and the local St Wolstan, the patron saint of farmers) and why some of the saints where now defaced.

Infrared reflectogram of the four door panels (far left) and the six panels (right) all painted over in ochre paint.

The south panel 3 with King Henry VI (left) and the infrared reflectogram revealing the underdrawing and the painting that is under the layers of ochre paint (left).

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