Survey of Historic Wall Paintings in the British Isles

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Survey of Historic Wall Paintings in the British Isles

Begun in 1980 as the National Survey of Medieval Wall Painting, this project has been renamed in January 2018 to reflect the much more ambitious scope that it has developed over the years. Coordinated throughout its existence by David Park, the Survey was originally funded by the Leverhulme Trust, with extensive photography undertaken by the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. The Survey archive is housed in the Conservation of Wall Painting Department at The Courtauld. This enormous archive contains records not only of all surviving and recorded medieval wall paintings throughout the British Isles, but also extensive records of post-medieval wall paintings from the grandest Baroque schemes to paintings in humble domestic contexts. It also contains similar records for medieval polychrome sculptures, paintings on wood, and painted sculptures. It is probably the most comprehensive archive of its type in the world, including not only photographic records but conservation reports and art-historical information (both published and unpublished). It has been drawn on for many scholarly publications, such as Wall Paintings of Eton published in 2012, as well as other research-related activities such as the exhibition Wonder: Painted Sculpture from Medieval England held at the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds in 2002-03.

The Survey is constantly updated, not least with the continuing discoveries which make this such an exciting field. The Courtauld is enormously indebted to those who have provided important records for the archive, including most recently Muriel Carrick, well known for her published research on domestic wall paintings in Essex and elsewhere in England, including the catalogue to the exhibition Essex Domestic Wall Paintings 14th-18th Century which she organised at the University of Essex in 1989.

The Survey archive is available for consultation by all interested students, scholars, conservators and members of the public. Those wishing to consult the Survey should make an appointment with Professor Park:

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