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    The artist’s technique was ingenious and would have withstood the ravages of time, however, because the church fell into disrepair and water and damp were getting into the building, the paintings began to suffer. Waterborne salts, sometimes running over the painted surface, caused the plaster and paint to fall off the walls.

    Efforts at limiting the loss of the decoration were made over the years, and large vulnerable areas were protected with ‘facing tissue’ applied with gelatine solution. A complete conservation of the murals was begun in 2003 by a team of conservators, including three interns or trainees funded by Historic Scotland. The work took two and a half years to complete.

    The conservation involved the following main procedures:

    • Securing all loose and weak plaster
    • Securing all loose and weak paint
    • Cleaning the paintings
    • Dealing with cracks and plaster losses
    • Recreating missing areas of the decoration and the raised work
    • Re-varnishing

    A full account of the work has been published by Historic Scotland Technical Research and Education Group (Case Study 1)