St Albans Cathedral

AV magic restores medieval paintings to former glory

  • Posted On: 29 September 2019
  • Author: Fusion Admin
  • Number of views: 1437
St Albans Cathedral

Fusion have recently completed a unique project at St Albans Cathedral.  The cathedral dates back to Norman times, and is the oldest site of continual Christian worship in the country.

The brief was to re-create, by illumination, the set of medieval wall paintings in the Cathedral’s huge nave, depicting images of the saints Thomas, Christopher, Zita and Saints Alban and Amphibalus. These images are from the late 13th and early 14th centuries, whitewashed over at the dissolution of the monasteries they have been hidden from view. Until the 1800’s when the Victorians scratched the away the whitewash to leave the, partial, images only with their undercoat colour. The purpose of the project was to show them how they might have looked, in their full glory, with the help of a little AV magic. 

To accomplish this, Fusion installed four projectors, at height, in the Triforium overlooking the nave.  The projectors map a representation of the original splendour of the paintings onto the existing wall, by using a series of “layers” to show the visitor how they may have originally been viewed. 

These images are incorporated into a film which peels back the layers of the paintings to reveal their history. This will now form part of the daily guided tour for members of the public, allowing the cathedral guide to play back these images and pause the film at certain points to enhance the explanation of the paintings and their history.  This feature is controlled by way of a handheld tablet and allows the guide to show the intricacy of the paintings and explain them in greater detail.

This project has been an amazing mixture of history, archaeology, art and technology which has allowed the public to see how something that is over 500 years old may have looked and also uncovered small new clues to how the artist of the time worked.