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The mural at Ness gets some much needed TLC!
Posted on 22 March 2012
At the moment we have two paint conservators up working on the mural at Ness Battery. Their main aim was to put the pieces of the Battery motto back in place, to touch up bare patches and give it just a bit of a clean.
I went up to see them this morning and was well impressed. It is great to see the motto back together and complete. On two small sections they have taken off the two coats of varnish that have been applied. One coat was put on just after the mural was completed, the second one some time post-war.
The newer varnish is easier to remove but the first coat needs to be removed using special chemicals and is a slow and painstaking job as I was told it is very easy to go too far and take away the paint too.
Here, you can see how the motto looks with a small part of it having been cleaned. The difference is really remarkable. The letters are sharp and you can see the yellow outline very easily.
On another part of the wall they have cleaned part of the sky and the transformation is incredible. The colour is wonderful, a really bright blue. When the mural was first painted it would have looked incredibly bright. It would be wonderful if funds allowed the whole mural to be cleaned up and we are looking into this at the moment and awaiting a cost.
I asked conservator Fiona Allardyce if she could get a ‘feel’ for the artist as she had been working on the mural for a week and a half now. She didn’t think they were trained necessarily but she did say that the painting was done by someone who was very confident about what they were doing and knew how they were going to approach the job. The paint is proper artist’s paint – we wonder how they got that in such quantity during WWII. The person certainly knew their materials and knew what they were doing.
The hatch that leads to the kitchen has been in a poor condition for a while now. Rain which came in through the roof had distorted it and as it is plywood it had suffered quite a bit and was a bit like wrinkled paper. However, now the roof no longer leaks and the conservators have given it a clean it looks much better and we are looking into the cost of perhaps restoring this too.
I have included a few photos here so you can see just what a difference a bit of cleaning has done to the mural. It really is remarkable.
Just to add, that the tours are going extremely well and if you are thinking of going along then certainly make the effort to do so. Stromness Tours can be contacted through their www.nessbattery.co.uk website, or by calling 07759 857298.
The image here shows how clear and blue the sky is with the two coats of varnish having been removed. Just imagine how the entire mural would look if it were all cleaned up! Wouldn't that be great.
Again, the difference between the cleaned section and the varnished section is remarkable.
Here you can see where cleaning has removed just a small area of varnish. The sky is a lovely light blue and so clear.
This is my favourite bit. Before it looked like just a wall but now it has been cleaned you can see that the artist has painted wallpaper and what looks like a border of green and red along the top of the wall.
Before it was cleaned the caravan panels were very dark but now it has been given a light clean you can see that there are flowers painted on to the panels. A lovely touch. On looking at the mural now there is so much more detail to be seen and it's lovely to think that the person who painted it spent so much time putting in little bits of detail.
Posted on 22 March 2012