1599, Unknown maker

Client: Christopher Smallwood Architects for The Royal Foundation of St Katherine

Location: St Katherine's Church, Limehouse

This memorial brass plaque is dedicated to William Cuttinge who died in 1599. The larger plaque is highly decorated with engraving and polychrome colouring, inset into a Purbeck marble and alabaster surround which also contained a smaller, triangular brass plaque set into the pediment.

Before conservation              Before conservation              Central panel after conservation

The remains of at least five separate colours were still visible on the surface, particularly on the armorial devices.

The central section was removed from the surround, then the brass plaque separated from its marble frame.

Paint samples were taken from the polychrome armorial devices and from areas of gilding on both plaques. Analysis revealed that both were originally fully gilded, and details of the heraldry were picked out in brightly coloured oil paints. The smaller brass had been repainted, probably in the nineteenth century, but the larger one had not been touched since it was first put up. The survival of this kind of decoration on brass is extremely rare and makes the plaque highly important.

The brass panels were cleaned extremely carefully so as not to remove any of the original decoration which still remained on the surface. After cleaning they were lacquered using an Ethyl Methacrylate co-polymer. The central plaque was then replaced in its marble frame and the whole monument resited in St Katherine's church by Nimbus Conservation, who undertook the conservation of the stone surround.

                                                       Details, after conservation                                             

A rubbing taken from the larger plaque