Gothic stations of the Cross
Updated: 5 days ago
Carved in Belgium, restored in the U.K.
Father wanted his Gothic stations of the cross to look as beautiful as possible.
Created in 1858, the stations needed a sensitive approach to refurbishment, ensuring any new repairs marry well with the age of the artworks.
The stations had been restored once before, in 1948, just after the war. During this period, some makeshift changes had been made, the bright colours of the frames had been painted over in a tan brown. The spires and gilded acanthus leaves atop the canopies were generally damaged. Spears and clubs which the soldier figures held, had also been lost and had to be repaired or duplicated and replaced.
The painted scenes behind the figures on a couple of the stations had been repainted by a less experienced hand than the original artist, on others the scenery had been completely painted out.
When we visit various churches, parishioners often tell us how unhappy they are about the scenic element of their stations of the cross having been painted over. Often by a zealous person with a spare tin of gold paint, or something similarly brash.
When this happens, it can be for practical reasons. If the placement of a station is over a heat source, or too near an open window, it can cause these to deteriorate more quickly than the rest. In the case of the Gothic stations, we cannot know the cause for sure, or indeed if the war itself was a contributing factor!
We felt it important to restore the missing painted scenes behind the figures. Not only to keep the integrity of the set, but also to enhance the devotional and Catechetical nature of the artworks.