Cromarty East Church. SRCT.
Conservation News

A church of gaudy colours?

23 March 2009

red paintwork revealed around north loft lettering: photo by AOC ArchaeologyWell, so much for the theory that churches were plain, perhaps slightly gloomy places of worship. The growing evidence of colour in the East church gives many points to ponder.

Most recently revealed is red paintwork around the gold lettering on the front of the North Loft. And as if this wasn't exciting enough, exploratory delicate removing of the upper layers of varnish has revealed the beginnings of a curve around the lettering.

North Loft:beginnings of a curve revealed - photo by AOC ArchaeologyAll this was discovered by a conservator from AOC archaeology when she was undertaking 3 days of initial work in order to advise on how to best conserve the loft front.

The two most spectacular pieces of coloured painting already known about in the church are the amorial panels of Sir Kenneth and Lady Mackenzie, and his painted pew panels - re-used in the North Loft

Other evidence of colouring in the church can be found in the green and golden lettering of the old west loft front (now hidden below a pew) and in fragments of pink paint revealed through scraping of top layers of wall paint.

The trick now will be to try to determine the ages of all these hints of colour - and then, of course, the really big challenge - what period to present the church in?

initials under pew: west loftsun on box pew: north loftGeorge Ross funeral hatchment: East (Lairds) Loft

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