Conservation of the West Front

The West Front Image Screen of Exeter Cathedral is one of the great architectural features of Medieval England. The addition of the image screen around 1340 marked the completion the re‑building of the cathedral in the Gothic style. Work continued on the screen with the additional top tier completed about 1470.

In 2016 a specialist survey (carried out every five years) examined the state of any remaining colouring (the original polychrome) as well as investigating the condition of the carved statues.
This survey informed a phased programme of works around the following areas:

  • Non-invasive cleaning of the polychrome areas
  • Repairs to the statues with lime mortar to prevent water from pooling around the stonework and, where possible, halt further decay. The cotton wool used around these repair sites prevents the mortar from drying out too quickly and failing.
  • Application of a sheltercoat to protect the image screen from the weather.

The work was carried out by the Cathedral’s own stonemasons, supported by The Prince of Wales who made a donation through The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation.

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