Investigation and uncovering of painted coffer ceiling decoration by Sir John Soane, 1820s, the Banqueting House, Whitehall, London.
The ceiling of the great hall of the Banqueting House in London was investigated by two teams of conservators and several teams of scientists as part of the campaign for the Historic Royal Palaces. The uncovering was supported by thorough collaborative historic research and polychrome scheme investigation carried out by other specialists. The uncovering informed the project about the quality of the Soane decoration, as well as materials and techniques used by his craftsmen.
I was part of a team lead by architect Richard Ireland. My role was to uncover overpainted areas of the woodwork, which forms an elaborate frame to paintings by Rubens. Shown below is an area of decoration designed by Sir John Soane after uncovering and several details showing coloured glazes over original oil gilding. I removed several layers of lead-based and modern paint using only mechanical means. The overall uncovered area measures 38 x 175 cm.