Shrewsbury Cathedral Conservators Uncover Hidden Gothic Revival Paintings and Tiles

Readers of LAJ know only too well the story of the mid 20th century when much that was beautiful in the realm of liturgical art was dispensed with or covered over in the name of noble simplicity. Of course, embedded within this was a mistaken notion which mistook simplicity for minimalism. Fortunately, a richer, more historical and contextual understanding of noble simplicity has been increasing over the decades since then; a view of noble simplicity that is paired with another important principle: noble beauty. 

Within the gothic revival movement, one of the richest expressions of that movement was the revival of architectural colour and pattern. This was manifest, particularly in England, through colouful patterned tiles and mural work that was rich in both colour and symbolism. Regrettably, this work was not exempt from the minimalist spirit of the mid 20th century, and many a grand rood screen, reredos, mural or tile work became a casualty of this semi-iconoclastic spirit. 

A recent example of this has come to light in Shrewsbury Cathedral -- a name inextricably linked to one of the great English gothic revivalists: AWN Pugin. The BBC carries the story: Shrewsbury Cathedral Conservators Find Hidden Paintings. Here is a bit of the story:

Colourful 19th Century wall paintings hidden by paint for about 70 years have been found at Shrewsbury Cathedral. 
Conservators found images of biblical scenes and saints after chipping away two layers of paint which were applied during alterations in the 1950s. They are working on a project aiming to return the interior of the Shropshire church to its "former glory". 
The paintings by Catholic designer Joseph Aloysius Pippet were found around the altar and sanctuary. It is thought they can be recovered and conserved for the future. The largest painting, on the sanctuary arch, shows Christ "seated in glory" in the presence of the Virgin Mary and St Joseph. Three sections of another painting show the Archangel Gabriel visiting the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation. Sophie Andreae, of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said finding the paintings intact was "very exciting"... Ms Andreae said a "growing appreciation" of historic Catholic church buildings had led to a re-evaluation of such work and a "desire to restore beauty and colour to our buildings". 
Thousands of neo-Gothic revival floor tiles covered up by carpets were also found.

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