Sir Robert McAlpine awarded Cliveden Conservation the contract to restore Elizabeth Tower back to its original 1850’s Charles Barry colour scheme. The skill requirement of the project included historic paint removal, archaeological paint analysis, reinstating the decorative paint scheme and gliding.
Summary of the conservation work carried out
Conservators hand stripped the historic build-up of paint layers and applied to the clock face surround stonework, right up to the Belfry Balcony. The careful stripping process revealed Elizabeth Tower’s different historic decorative schemes right back to the original Charles Barry colour scheme.
Paint chips were extracted, their locations meticulously documented and then sent for microstratigraphic analysis by Cliveden Conservation’s collaborators, Lincoln Conservation.
Cliveden Conservation advised on the correct conservation methods for stripping, cleaning and preparing the stonework before re-painting and re-gilding the new decorative scheme onto the iconic clockfaces.
Further work to reinstate the gilded decoration on the cast iron roof and associated masonry was also undertaken by the team. Reinstating the interior decorative scheme inside Elizabeth Tower was carried out as the second stage of the project.
Throughout the project conservators were working at height with narrow gangways often enduring challenging weather conditions including the Beast from the East.
Cliveden Conservation has successfully reinstated the original Charles Barry decorative scheme. The dials and clock hands are now Prussian blue and gold. Other key elements have also been returned back to Barry’s scheme including the row of six shields above each dial that displays St George’s red cross on a white background.
Top Image Credit: Lumen Photography
Sir Robert McAlpine