Monday, 21 June 2010

Restorations at S' Aloysius' Church, Caulfield

The Latin Mass Community at Saint Aloysius' Caulfield commissioned some restoration of its church interior in time for Holy Week this year. This large church, constructed in 1923, has grown quite tired after a succession of unsympathetic redecorations. One of the sadder features was the High altar: an Omaru stone structure, but which was painted off-white some years ago. The apse wall behind the altar had been painted the same colour, effectively decreasing the altar's prominence. Although never an altar of great beauty, it was nevertheless felt that its appearance could be significantly improved.

The Melbourne firm of Mulholland Restoration and Decorating, which has restored many historic churches in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, was engaged to re-ornament the altar, in conjunction with the Saint Bede Studio. Because cost was a constraining factor, stripping the paint from the altar was deemed impossible. Parts of the stonework were also assessed as being in a quite deteriorated state. Instead, Mulhollands gave the altar a faux-stone treatment, giving it the appearance and texture of sandstone. This work having been carried out, the ornamental work of the altar was treated with a gold medium. To enhance the effect of this work, the apse wall behind the altar was painted white, whilst the string course separating the upper and lower levels of the sanctuary wall and the adjacent columns were also given the faux-stone treatment.

At the same time, the Saint Bede Studio prepared a number of altar frontals.

The results are seen in the photographs below (thanks to Dr Chris Steward). Note that some of the photographs may appear to slightly exaggerate the depth of the sandstone colour.

Click on each image for an enlarged view.

Beginning the stone treatment: the previous painted colour of the altar seen on the right.

Treating the bas-reliefs: David and Barry from Mulhollands.

Work on the column, apse wall and string course.

Goldwork to accentuate ornamental mouldings &c.

After the completion of the paintwork.

Altar frontal for Penitential Days.

Easter Morning, shewing festal altar frontal.

Father Diamond PP celebrating the Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper in the Ordinary Form.