Pudsey-based Ornate Interiors has been contracted to restore two ornate Victorian columns at York Art Gallery. Ornate Interiors’ team of expert traditional plasterers have been working on the previously hidden columns, which date back to the building’s construction in 1879, to restore them to their former glory as part of the ongoing refurbishment project.

Ornate - York Art Gallery ColumnsWorking on behalf of contractor Simpson of York, Ornate Interiors’ work at the venue involves the reinstatement and restoration of mouldings using both fibrous and in-situ moulds. Additional traditional lime plastering placed upon brickwork and laths, and some restoration of existing plasterwork, also formed part of their workload.

Ornate Interiors’ managing director, Ronnie Clifford, explained: “The two columns were obscured by cladding applied during a previous refurbishment of the venue and each originally featured four scroll effects and four ladies’ faces.

“These features, carved from sandstone, had been chiselled off to make the cladding process easier; however, we used the services of a modeller, renowned master carver Dick Reid, employed by York Museum Trust, who we have worked with many times, to make a clay mould in-situ at the gallery. We then made a rubber mould at our workshop and used plaster cast to recreate to the original design.

“We sent this back to the modeller at his workshop to get rid of any blemishes and imperfections. These then came back to us which we once again re-cast and then we dressed the original stone back to enable us to re-fit the eight new scrolls and eight faces to return it to its original look,” added Mr Clifford, whose company has worked on many of the UK’s most iconic architectural landmarks.