From April 2015 Trinity’s chapel will be undergoing an extensive programme of renovation and restoration.
In 2010 a report into the state of the chapel revealed that the exquisite Grinling Gibbons carvings, the plasterwork and the paintings were in need of particular attention, alongside a comprehensive programme of cleaning. The organ will be refurbished as part of the programme of works. Works to stabilise the deteriorated stonework on the east wall and deal with problems of damp were undertaken in 2013.
At ground level, work this month is focussed on the installation of new supports for the pews and securing the sub-floor ducting for the wiring.
Several levels higher up, two members of Alan Lamb’s team are cleaning the large pieces of Grinling Gibbons carvings, working on the columns on either side of the reredos and using tooth brushes to clean the intricate acanthus leaves on the capitals. A team from York Glaziers has been here for the last three weeks and has now almost completed the cleaning of the windows on the southern wall. The impact is striking and some panes of glass that we thought were opaque are now seen to be transparent. What is really fascinating is the range of textures, not just of the glass – some flat, while others are mottled with an uneven surface – but the vivid colours and the way that the colour has been captured. From the scaffolding, you can also see at close quarters, sections of the windows that would simply not be visible from ground level. Especially noteworthy are motifs like the beautiful double-headed dragon, placed high up in the middle window and an equally splendid representation of the college’s gryphons.
Finally, at ceiling level the painters are using spray guns to apply the first coat of paint to the newly cleaned plasterwork.
Although it is still hard to imagine the final result, each stage of the work provides new insights into the design of the chapel and makes us all the keener to reach completion.
Update five – posted 28 October 2015