Medieval pigments, paint mediums and wall plaster

Staff: Penny Hill
Wall-painting of St Catherine, 'in situ', found on the east wall of the south transept, believed to have been painted c.1400
Wall-painting of St Catherine, 'in situ', found on the east wall of the south transept, believed to have been painted c.1400

The medieval church of St Teilo's re-erected at St Fagans National History Museum is currently being refurbished and will be presented to the public as it would have appeared in 1520. A number of wall paintings were retrieved from the building, and although these cannot be displayed in the church, accurate copies will be reproduced on the walls using original pigments and materials available in that period. Identification of the pigments and a study of the techniques used has been undertaken to enable the conservators to reproduce the wall paintings as closely as possible.

Few examples of medieval polychrome figures survive, and those that do only have fragmentary remains of their painted surface, making it difficult for visitors to understand their original appearance. To aid interpretation of these figures on display and identify appropriate pigments to recreate the original appearance of the polychrome figures for the interior of St Teilo's church, cross sections of the paint layers will be studied and the pigments and paint mediums, where possible, identified.