High-tech showcase for ancient paintings

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THE final stage of a £54,000 project to showcase a piece of medieval artwork has been put in place.

The launch of a website for the Lakenheath Wall Paintings project signals the end of a three-year process to conserve and restore artwork up to 800-years-old.

Conservation work began in February and March of 2009 on the wall paintings, all located in the church of St Mary the Virgin in Lakenheath.

Matthew Champion, project manager, said the idea of the website was to encourage people to go and see the images for themselves.

“They were originally made for the local people to view and we want to ensure that they remain that way.

“By encouraging people to come and see these paintings, we are helping to ensure that they will be preserved for future generations,” he said.

After first being uncovered in the late 19th century, the wall paintings were deemed to be in dire need of conservation.

Leaks in the roof and a build up of dirt and grime threatened to cause them to disappear.

But after funding was found – including £32,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund – a specialist team from Perry Lithgow Partnership began work to rescue the images.

The images were cleaned and stabilised over a five-week period, with a number of new discoveries made on the way.

Those included a variety of different paint schemes, some dating back to the 1220s.

The new website also contains a map of the new Medieval Wall Paintings Trail which shows a close-knit circuit of nearby churches which also contain wall paintings.

Further features include educational resources and details of the conservation process.