Wednesday 28 September 2016

Fresh makeover for cathedral carving of medieval bishop - 700 years on

Published 21/03/2016 | 00:11

Bishop Archibald will be seen in a new light
Bishop Archibald will be seen in a new light

A 700-year-old carving of a medieval bishop will appear freshly painted at a new exhibition, after expert analysis of 13th century paint flecks.

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Conservation specialists studied tiny paint traces on an historic sculpture to help create a light display showing what the carving might have looked like when first painted in 1298.

The effigy of Bishop Archibald is one of more than 100 medieval carved stones going on show for the first time in 20 years in the exhibition at Elgin Cathedral, Moray, on Friday.

The brightly-painted carving was placed on top of the bishop's tomb built into the wall of the cathedral when he was laid to rest in 1298.

Each stone is lit with targeted LED lighting to reveal the detail of the carvings, as part of more than £300,000 invested in conserving, interpreting and displaying the works.

St ephen Duncan, director of commercial and tourism for Historic Environment Scotland, said: "A great amount of effort has gone into the realisation of this exciting exhibition.

"From our conservation specialists who analysed tiny traces of paint from a 13th century sculpture of Bishop Archibald to our partners at Edinburgh Napier University who used these findings to develop a lighting display, showing what it once might have looked like when freshly painted.

"This exhibition provides visitors with a fantastic opportunity to discover more about the cathedral, its architecture and history. As well as the chance to view the stones and their carvings up close, it also offers a rare glimpse into what Elgin Cathedral could have looked like some 700 years ago."

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