A Colourful History / A Bright Future: Celebrating the Reredos Project at St Cuthbert’s

The summer’s investigations into the two magnificent fifteenth century painted reredos frameworks and the 450 pieces of broken sculpture which once populated them are now complete. This day of presentations and discussion, open to all, shared the project’s findings and opened the conversation about the sculptures’ future. Films of the day’s presentations can be found here.

The cataloguing work, undertaken by Jerry Sampson, shed light on the original composition and structure of the two reredoses. What can the iconography tell us about the nature of worship in the fifteenth century church? How and when were they destroyed? Conservators Lynne Humphries and Emma Norris described their close analysis of the polychromy of the sculptures and architectural elements and suggested how these delicate and fragmented treasures might be prepared for display.

In the afternoon, a series of guest speakers – plus a video presentation about LED projection mapping at Elgin Cathedral prepared by Malcolm Innes (Edinburgh Napier University) – introduced ideas for future display and interpretation of these exceptional artefacts, and we considered the ways in which they fit into the life of the church today.

The seminar took place in the Lecture Hall at Wells and Mendip Museum in Wells on Tuesday 6th December 9.30am-5.00pm. A buffet lunch provided by Wells Cathedral Catering was included in the ticket price.



09.30-10.00       Arrival, registration and coffee

10.00-10.15       Welcome and Acknowledgements (Judeth Saunders, Project Coordinator)

10.15-10.25       First Session: Introduction (Rowan Brown, Director, Alfred Gillett Trust)

10.25-11.30       A Teardrop on the Cheek of Time: The Making and Breaking of the St Cuthbert’s Reredoses (Jerry Sampson, Project Cataloguer)

11.30-12.30       The St Cuthbert’s Reredos Project – Uncovering the Past to Inform the Future (Lynne Humphries and Emma Norris, Project Conservators)

12.30-13.00       Questions for First Session

13.00-14.00       Lunch – buffet provided

14.00-14.10       Second Session Introduction (Antonia Gwynn, Churchwarden, St Cuthbert’s)

14.10-15.00       St Cuthbert’s as part of 100 Church Treasures (Joseph Friedrich, ChurchCare)

15.00-15.30       Case Study: Interpreting Holy Trinity, Torbryan (Rowena Riley, Torbryan Project Officer, The Churches Conservation Trust)

15.30-16.15       Panel Discussion: The Future for the Reredoses (all speakers)

16.15-16.30       Walk to St Cuthbert’s church

16.30-17.00       Tour of Reredoses

17.00                Close