Sparkle to return to Pulham church paintings

The sparkle is being returned to a south Norfolk church after work began to repair two historic paintings that were fading away.

A fundraising appeal was issued more than six months ago to help restore two impressive paintings at the parish church in Pulham Market to their former glory.

Now the painstaking task of repairing, cleaning, and filling in the cracks that have formed on the ceiling and wall above the chancel arch at the 15th century church, near Diss, has begun after residents supported the restoration project.

A team of four expert conservationists began the work of securing the future of the colourful images at St Mary Magdalene Church, which date back to medieval times.

The eight week restoration of the flaking paintings of the Ascension of Christ on the east nave wall and angels playing trumpets on the ceiling follows a church survey 15 years ago, which identified the need to carry out repairs after suffering from the ravages of time and damp problems.

Norwich-based conservationist Andrea Kirkham, who is leading the project, said they were intervening before the plaster began to fall off. She added that the paintings will look much brighter and the gold-leaf will 'sparkle' when the work is finished at the end of November.

'It was certainly not going to get better and the fact the parish have got the project going is really good. It is a lovely church with a fantastic medieval roof. It does not have a lot of painted decoration and it is valued,' she said.

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The feathered trousered trumpet-playing angels on the ceiling were first created in the 1400s before being repainted in 1873. The wall image of Christ and his disciples was commissioned in 1895.

Brian Carr, fabric officer at the church, said: 'Most of the people in the village were very, very pleased that the work was going ahead. It is a nice focal point and if we did not do the work, it would have detoriated,' he said.