Removal of the Tablets, April 22, 2016

Removal of the Tablets (full size gallery)

April 22, Roy Carter and Don Lee did a careful job of removing them from the wall. Cleo Mullins our main contractor recommended them The panels are now at the Richmond Conservation Studio where Cleo Mullins will repair and restore them. What have we learned:

1. Before the panels there was blue paper.  It may have been made of linen. It is tearing and fragile and the lettering is smaller. See the comparison below looking at commandment #4

The panels may have been added when the paper began to crack.  Or they could have been an improvement since the blue paper would have been more difficult to read.  Or the blue paper was a cheaper first step ?

The blue recalls another use of blue was used in the center section which Cleo Mullins uncovered during early investigations into the altarpiece.  

All of this may mean that if the paper was a first step, the installation of the the tablets may have been later than originally thought.  We have used the date 1852.

2. The panels were on the back of wood (pine) shipping panels. On the back of them "Gray and Pendleton Port Royal Glass with care." Thus it is probable the panels were local and not removed from another church. This may tell us the origin of the panels but not the artist.

3. There is water damage at the bottom. The panels also held some fragments of plaster that came apart when the tablets were removed.

4. Since two nails of different time periods were found, it is not surprising that the panels have been removed at another time.

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