A bold “strapwork” design taken from an Elizabethan wall painting in Oxford. This geometric pattern was painted floor to ceiling in a 16th century coaching inn called The Golden Cross. Discovered on a wall with a brick fireplace, the painting is a good example of how these designs would be used to cover plaster, stone, brick and even cloth which was found stretched across parts of the wall.
I’ve included a photo of the wall painting as it stands in what is, today, a pizza restaurant. Some areas have been re-instated in black and white to show where the design was but you can tell how bright the colours have remained after nearly 500 years. That’s because the Elizabethan artisans used earth pigments that don’t fade with time.
This fresco secco panel depicts a small section of what is, I think, a very modern looking pattern. It is painted with the same natural powder pigments mixed with animal skin glue in the traditional manner.
These fresco secco panels are cracked and aged to give character and patination. On completion the plastered hessian substrate is glued to its wooden support and won’t crack or rub-back any further. Paintings where the hessian is wrapped around the panel edges may succumb to some minor flaking on the corners but a few knocks and scrapes are part of its “distressed” character.
The piece is finished with wax so may be buffed and polished to maintain its lustre