While working on a project to restore the historic Catholic church's former interior, the Shrewsbury Cathedral renovators discovered ancient wall paintings of a biblical story. According to BBC News, the сolourful pictures were hidden for more than 70 years under two layers of paint, applied in the 1950s during the cathedral's last restoration.

The Diocese of Shrewsbury's press office noted that the detailed research conducted by McNeilage Conservation found not only the paintings themselves preserved but also remarked the superb quality of these drawings, their accuracy, and the preservation of their composition.

It will allow for detailed restoration and preservation of these unique works of art.

History of The Shrewsbury Cathedral

The Roman Catholic cathedral, commonly known as Shrewsbury Cathedral, was completed and opened in 1856. Its full name is The Cathedral Church of Our Lady Help of Christians and Saint Peter of Alcantara. The Сathedral is believed to have been designed by the famous architect Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.

It is assumed that the author of the painted images is were by a Catholic designer Joseph Aloysius Pippet. The latter worked in the chapels and chancel of the Cathedral from 1885.

The Cathedral has been undergoing restoration work since 1950, with particularly significant changes occurring in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2019 Bishop Mark Davies began a project to return the cathedral to its authentic vision, and the paintings were rediscovered.

Discovered works of art

A diocesan statement said that three fragments of a Painting on the sanctuary's upper northern wall were discovered during the restoration. Interestingly, it depicts the Archangel Gabriel and Blessed Virgin Mary.

The fragments are also decorated with pigeons, fleur-de-lis, star leitmotifs, and Latin inscriptions on scrolls.

The largest fragment of the painting is located high on the arch of the sanctuary. It depicts Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, and St. Joseph.

The wrought metal rood of Arts and Crafts has also been restored and returned to the cathedral's roof in its original color.

Explorers even cleaned and repaired the bell. After almost 50 years of quietness, it can ring again.

An architectural historian and the secretary of Wales and Herefordshire Historic Churches Committee James Crowley remarked: "Perhaps the most exciting prospect remains to be seen." He explained that probably not all of the painting fragments have yet been discovered. Therefore, conservators and researchers may soon present other equally unique preserved paintings on the Cathedral walls, which will allow recreating the whole idea of the picture. It is expected that the project of cathedral restoration will be completed in two years.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!