Care home residents view amazing church art restoration

Care home residents view amazing church art restoration.

St Mark's Church, Pennington thank Belmore Lodge and others who have donated to the appeal. 

Art restoration at St Mark's Church PenningtonLymington care home residents have helped their nearby Victorian parish church complete the first stage of an ambitious project to conserve precious wall paintings. Colten Care’s Belmore Lodge has contributed to a community appeal by St Mark’s Church designed to fund the professional restoration of the colourful artworks that have greeted generations of worshippers. Residents from the Milford Road care home did their bit through a sponsored quiz, prize draw, collection and the raffling of a large blanket of coloured squares they knitted. 

Colten Care residents are shown the restored art at St Marks Church PenningtonThe oldest painting, at the end of the chancel and depicting Christ, the Virgin Mary and St John, has been brought back to its best after weeks of painstaking work at the end of 2016. Two experts from Salisbury-based Peter Martindale Conservation used scaffolding for access. With specialist tools, they tackled surface and water damage that had built up over more than a century since the artist Nathaniel Westlake finished the painting in 1904. An altar had to be relocated for communion during the restoration process.

A party of residents and staff from Belmore Lodge were among the first visitors to cast their eyes over the renovated artwork. Resident Margaret Stancliffe said: “It’s beautiful. The difference is amazing.”

Residents from Belmore Lodge visit the newly restored art at St Mark's Church PenningtonAssociate Priest Revd Anne Elliott thanked the Belmore Lodge residents and others in the community who have contributed to the fundraising appeal. She said: “All donations help and we are sincerely grateful to everyone who has helped out. This has been very much an example of a community working together to preserve paintings that are truly uplifting for worship. It’s an expensive and intricate business to restore such artwork. There are very few people who are qualified to do it.”

Teresa Nivison, Churchwarden and Treasurer, said: “The Westlake painting is now cleaner and brighter. The restoration has picked out all the detail we couldn’t see before. The painting was always nice, but now it’s outstanding and will last for generations to come.”

The second stage of the work involves the restoration of panels either side of the chancel. Depicting Biblical scenes, these were painted by William Aikman in 1930. Their restoration is due to take place over five weeks up to mid-February 2017.

St Mark’s has raised £11,000 in donations with further monies promised through a grant from the Church Buildings Council. The Belmore Lodge residents have so far raised more than £200 towards the appeal.

For more information on the fundraising campaign, with details on how to donate, visit www.stmarks-pennington.org.uk.


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