On the evening of Monday 6th March Madeleine Katkov gave a talk to the Chalgrove Local History Group on her work conserving the medieval wall paintings in  St Mary’s church. Not a historian herself she explained that her training in conservation had been ‘hands on’ and that she is fascinated by the historical discoveries that can be made by close observation of the painters’ techniques and use of iconography. One such discovery was the realisation that what appeared to be a loss of surface plaster, and the pigment on it, in the halo of Saint Mary at the Annunciation was in fact a painting of the white head of the dove of the Holy Spirit. Similarly the use of a feathering technique with the paintbrush indicates that the angels in several of the scenes did not originally have lower parts to their bodies but were painted mainly as heads and wings. But the most interesting of her discoveries was from the chemical analysis of the paint from several places in the scheme which revealed that the artists had painted a background of white lead instead of limewash, and had used animal glue instead of lime water to mix the earth colours used. This appears to be a totally unknown technique to date. On behalf of the History Group, Gill Lester thanked Madeleine for a very interesting talk and the evening ended with refreshments and general chat.


The Church

The Church

The Church of England Parish of Chalgrove with Berrick Salome is in the Aston & Cuddesdon Deanery of the Diocese of Oxford

Friends of St Mary's

Friends of St Mary's

The Friends support the work of the church through social events and fundraising

Heritage

History

The main glory of St Mary's is the internationally important scheme of medieval paintings on the upper walls of the chancel