We were recently approached by one of our clients (Stephen Oliver at Rodney Melville and Partners) who have been working on the refurbishment of Mount Carmel Church at Redditch, Worcestershire. Stephen had worked with us following the reconstruction of Stoke Rochford Hall and we were pleased to hear from him once again.
He asked us to help with the construction of a hanging rood beam, a roughly life size crucifix generally found either suspended from the church ceiling or incorporated into a Rood Screen which separates the Chancel from the Nave. The Rood or cross, which gives its name to Holyrood (Holy Cross) is a revered piece in church architecture and so there was much anticipation of the work we were to undertake.
There were a number of existing elements that were to be incorporated within the Rood beam, including of course, the effigy of Christ on the crucifix and a further two statues which we believe are of the Virgin Mary and St. John. Whilst we didn’t carve any of the figures (these were carved by Italian firm Ferdinand Stufflesser 1875 SNC), all the new details were hand carved from lime in keeping with those three figures.
Understandably the church was keen to maintain the aged appearance and so we retained the original finish on the cross and replicated the paint. Following the gilding we applied a delicate coat of patination to tie everything together. Having determined the design and construction we were asked to resolve the hanging issues and so a metal cross with eyes and threaded bar system was fabricated to connect all the lower timber sections to the metalwork. Following some precise weight calculations, a brass coated chain was ordered, installed and then the delivered in time for an acceptance ceremony.
I think you will agree that Stephen’s design elegantly links together all the disparate parts resulting in a finished piece that looked ideal for its place and purpose.
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