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Chandelier conservation

29 May 2009

Students Chris Wilkins and Laura O’Mahony conserving the chandelierStudents Chris Wilkins and Laura O’Mahony conserving the chandelier

A rare 18th Century chandelier is to be returned to a Mid-Wales church after being meticulously restored by conservators at the University.

Three years ago the wooden chandelier, stored in a church at Pennant Melangell, near Llangynog, was found to be so damaged by age, damp and woodworm that it was starting to decay and fall apart.

After specialised heat treatment in London it was brought to the School of History and Archaeology where two groups of students embarked on a three-year restoration project to return the chandelier to its original condition.

The work was undertaken as a project for the students’ degrees and they spent more than 300 hours researching the various techniques involved and carrying out the restoration.

Chris Wilkins, a conservator of museum objects and archaeology undergraduate student said: "We stabilised the worm-eaten timber with resin, replaced the missing parts and uncovered the chandelier’s original inscription. It’s been a worthwhile and rewarding project – few such objects have survived anywhere in Britain and we’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to conserve one of them."

The chandelier after conservationThe chandelier after conservation

The chandelier, which is shaped like a wheel with eight projecting spokes, was donated to the church in 1733 by two churchwardens. It was thought to have been made by a local woodturner, and was the main source of light in the church for over a century. In 1894 it was found stored in the tower at the church where it was re-hung in the nave and continued in use until electricity was installed in 1989.

Following its restoration, the chandelier is now back in Pennant and will be rededicated to the church in a ceremony celebrating the feast day of St Melangell on Sunday 31 May 2009, attended by the students.

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