Wells Cathedral West Front: Construction, Sculpture, and Conservation
Wells Cathedral West Front forms the most important gallery of 13th-century carving in northern Europe outside France. The earliest Gothic building in Britain, it has a seminal place in architectural history. The major conservation programme, carried out 1974-1986, pioneered techniques of conservation for the preservation of the almost 300 medieval sculptures of the west front. From 1980 to 1985 the author worked alongside the conservators and masons preparing record drawings and reports on the sculptures, photographing and recording the discoveries which were made in the course of the conservation. Out of this emerged a clear picture of how the facade was constructed and how it looked when the medieval paint was still fresh - a great screen alive with colour - and of how and when repairs were made over its 700 year history.
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aisle angels ashlar belted tunic beneath Bishop broken building buttresses carved carvers Cathedral central centre century chasuble chest Christ church cloister coffin lid Colchester crown damaged decoration DEMI-ANGEL dexter arm dexter hand dexter leg dexter shoulder dexter side Doulting Doulting stone drapery Dundry east nave edge elevation facade face feet figure sculpture fleurons gable Glastonbury Abbey head held hole iconography iron cramp lead dowel lifesize lost lower male maniple mantle mantle falls masons mastic medieval repair middle tier mitre niches north porch north walk original paint traces perhaps pieces pigment preserved probably quatrefoils resurrection tier roof seated seems sinister arm sinister foot sinister forearm sinister hand sinister leg sinister shoulder sinister side Solomon and Sheba south tower string-course suggests surviving thirteenth-century tier sculptures torso transept triforium tunic tunic and mantle upper tier vaulting vertical voussoir waist Wearing weathered west front west nave workshop