Restoration of the Chapel

Over the past three years we have been working to conserve the Chapel and we are now working on the final part of this important project.

Fluctuations to the environment in the Chapel have caused significant damage to the monument and to the fabric of the building, including the plaster and paint.

Fabric heating (not comfort heating) has been installed to create a more stable environment. The addition of doors has also reduced the air change.

New lighting has been installed to allow visitors to view the finer details of the Chapel and the monument.

 

The final part of the project is the re-decoration. A traditional casein (milk based) paint is being applied; casein paint has been used since ancient Egyptian times. Casein paint dries to an even consistency and will unify and bond the residual modern and historic layers of paints, while retaining breathability, which is essential in this type of conservation.

We have analysed the layers of paint used over the years and the conservation team will decide on the perfect colour that will show the Chapel in its best light, whilst being historically accurate. The ceiling will be in a brighter white, which will reflect light and lift the whole space.

Historically the paint would have been mixed on site providing a slight difference in colour and tone between the layers. This is due to the application method and this process will be emulated by our Master Craftsmen.

The Chapel was altered from Vanbrugh’s original design, first by the 1st Earl of Godolphin in the early 18th century, who repositioned the high altar to the west. Other alterations took place in the 19th Century and all the furnishings that can be viewed today are Victorian additions.

The monument was created for the 1st Duchess as a tribute to her husband and the interior decoration remained plain to focus attention on this large monument. The Duke is portrayed as a victorious hero, dressed as a Roman general, with Sarah and their two sons who, sadly, had died young. Their four daughters are not in the family group.

The Chapel is still used by the Spencer-Churchill family for private services and ceremonies.

The Restoration

The internal repair works to the Chapel have now been completed, and you can see the vast internal scaffolding being removed, this happened over the course of 10 days. A period of environmental stabilisation will now take place. Whilst the Chapel rests the decision on the colour of the paint will be made. Many different colours were uncovered during the initial investigations.

The Restoration

The internal repair works to the Chapel have now been completed, and you can see the vast internal scaffolding being removed, this happened over the course of 10 days. A period of environmental stabilisation will now take place. Whilst the Chapel rests the decision on the colour of the paint will be made. Many different colours were uncovered during the initial investigations.