The ceiling in the Holford bedroom, one of the school's estate rooms, is in the process of being restored by the Holford's of Westonbirt Trust. Sarah L, one of our boarders and A-Level Art Students, was given the opportunity to interview the artist restoring the ceiling. You can enjoy her report below.
The ceiling in Holdford’s Bedroom was designed by the respected artist Alfred Morgan. The design of the sky was very common and traditional of wall paintings in Victorian times and it is very beautiful. Unfortunately, due to the salt and water leakage which caused the original paint and plater to be very brittle and unstable, the old paint had to be scraped off which created the most important and the most difficult thing about the restoration, getting the texture to be the same as rest of the painting. I expected that colour matching would be the most important element, but a difference in texture is far easier to notice as the shadow is completely different. This is very difficult as the paint used in restoration is different from the paint used originally. Although both paints are water-based, they have different purposes.
The goal for the original paint is to last for as long as possible, on the other hand, the paint the conservationists were using, aims to be reversible, so if needed, all traces of the paint can be cleared off completely to give a true demonstration of the original artwork. With that, a very interesting ethical argument about art restoration came into our conversation. It is very difficult making the right decision when restoring art as it is often hard to balance to keep the artwork original and personal to the artist who created it and to make it look pleasant and beautiful for us to behold.