The Restoration of E.W. Pugin's Hoxton Church

The website IanVisits (by way of the Pugin Society) brought to my attention a restoration which took place a few years ago at St. Monica's, Hoxton Square -- an Augustinian church designed and executed in the mid 1860's by Edward Welby Pugin, eldest son of A.W.N. Pugin.

The church was originally decorated in a manner that was consonant with his father's own gothic revival work; namely, bold and bright colours and patterns, with decorative motifs and symbols. Unfortunately, sometime around 1960, these were short-sightedly painted over. Not even the woodwork found on the ceiling was spared the white-washing. Here was the end result:

Underneath all of these layers of paint, however, the original gothic revival work still lingered; sleeping, one might say, until the day when it would be revealed again.

That day thankfully came. What does some colour, design and ornament do by comparison? Why this:

Photo source: (c) IanVisits
Evidently the colours and patterns within the sanctuary and behind the reredos of the original high altar are the star of this particular show, but what shouldn't be overlooked is the profound impact that the ceiling now has in this restored state -- one which both emphasizes the wood beam construction and also adds a further layer of visual interest to the entire church.

Here is a closer look at the sanctuary itself:

Photo source: (c) IanVisits
Projects such as these are a good reminder that no matter how much has been lost, restoration should never be discounted out of hand.

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