Falkland Palace (Fife) – Exterior Gatehouse Heraldry
In April 2022, the National Trust for Scotland commissioned SWPC to treat deteriorating painted decoration on three heraldric panels on the exterior of the gatehouse at Falkland Palace. Since 2007, the Trust has wished to take a conservation approach to treatment of the panels, rather than carrying out complete restoration (which is typical for heraldry); therefore, every effort was made to conserve existing paint layers and reintegrate polychromatic losses.
Given the harsh climate in this part of Scotland, the main challenge has been researching and sourcing conservation materials able to withstand the driving wind and rain. Previous treatment methods and material choices have been carefully reviewed, and where considered appropriate, more suitable alternatives have been used.
Following rigorous research, actively flaking or cupped paint and blind paint detachment were set back, using a fully-reversible adhesive designed specifically for heritage conservation. The chosen adhesive should be able to withstand harsh weather conditions including driving rain and direct UV light. Surfaces were then cleaned to remove soiling and residual adhesive.
Vulnerable gaps between panels were filled using a conservation-designed product which meets the required criterion: reversibility, flexiblity and cohesive strength proportionate to that of the timber substrate.
Inpainting of losses and fills was carried out using a Nordic paint designed specifically as a coating for structural timber in extreme climates