Reviving the Lound Reredos

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As well as work for National Trust properties we also take on conservation for private clients. Below is information about conservation work we have recently completed for St John the Baptist Church in Lound, Suffolk. If you require information about possible conservation treatments we can provide then please contact the studio.

Description and History

The hangings are part of the scheme for St. John the Baptist Church, Lound, designed by Ninian Comper in 1912.

The reredos central hanging has three applied figures with Christ in the centre, John the Baptist to the left and John the Evangelist to the right.

The background fabric is cotton damask which has faded due to light. It is not the original fabric. The figures and motifs have been reapplied. The original fabric was a pink silk which is now only visible through small holes in the silk of the embroidery. It is unknown when the embroidery was  reapplied onto the current fabric.

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There is a matching altar frontal, with the original background fabric still intact, which is occasionally in use.

The patterned brocade fabrics in blue and gold used in the garments on the figures have metal threads running through the weave. The metal threads are now tarnished. The fabric, named St. Hubert, was designed by Ninian Comper.

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Conservation Treatment of the Reredos

The hanging was dirty, dusty and splashed with wax. It was vacuumed with a conservation vacuum and the wax removed.

The silk on the figures and motifs was very weak. It was splitting, with holes in places. This was secured to avoid further deterioration and loss. Small silk patches in the appropriate colour were inserted into the holes, to infill the colour.

The silk was overlaid with a conservation grade adhesive coated onto a fine, transparent  silk crepeline fabric. This allows the original fabric and design to be seen but secures the weak structure.

Many of the gold threads were loose and in danger of breaking off. These were secured with small  stitches.

A new fringe was made and applied to the back of the original to infill the loss of silk threads

Rust was removed from the metal rings and these were than sealed to inhibit further corrosion.

The Hessian lining had become brittle and the fibres were breaking down. It was replaced with heavy weight linen.

The hangings are an important part of the Church worship. Conservation was undertaken to help to preserve them for continued use and enjoyment.

John the Baptist after conservation
John the Baptist after conservation

http://www.loundworship.co.uk/index.php