(CNN) — Several murals, believed to be almost 400 years old, have been discovered in a flat in the north of England after renovation work was carried out in the kitchen.
Luke Budworth, 29, his partner Hazel Mooney, 26, and their dog Leonard moved temporarily out of their York City apartment in December while their new kitchen was completed.
Then Budworth got a call from the contractors. According to him, he told CNN on Monday: “In a very informal way they told me: ‘Did you know that there is a painting behind here?’
When Budworth went to take a look, the new kitchen cabinets were on the wall, covering the mural: the only proof of discovery was a blurry photo taken by the installers.
Although disappointed, Budworth, a research data analyst at the University of Leeds, suspected that a similar “panel stub” on the other side of the open-plan living room might also be hiding something.
“It was painted the same as the rest of the wall and I knew it was hollow,” he explains. “I always thought it was probably just covering some pipes.”
His suspicion proved correct. “It was a matching piece,” she said.
According to Budworth, both murals measure about 9 by 4 feet, although they are cut off at the top by the ceiling.
York’s Old Town is surrounded by an ancient wall and Budworth’s apartment, which he bought in October 2020, sits within it, on Micklegate, one of the city’s main streets. The apartment, situated above a cafe and non-profit bookshop, is part of a Grade II listed Georgian building dating from 1747.
“We thought it might be Victorian wallpaper, but it was much older than I thought,” Budworth explains.
The newly exposed mural depicts a biblical scene in which a caged man is dragged away by an angel. There is also a man in a white chariot who, according to Budworth, “looks like he is riding to the kingdom of heaven.”
“Really excited,” Budworth contacted Historic England, a public body that looks after the country’s historic environment. They sent a representative to inspect the work and take detailed professional photographs.
Historic England presented the couple with a life-size replica of the mural and advised them to cover it up to preserve it.
Budworth did some historical research on the Internet and discovered that both murals depicted scenes from a 1635 book titled “Emblems,” written by the poet Francis Quarles.
“The wall paintings predate the apartment itself,” Budworth explains, explaining that the artwork was done on a wall in a building that no longer exists. In other words, the building was built around an existing wall.
The paintings are believed to have been created between 1635, when “Emblems” was written, and 1700, when such artwork fell out of fashion, Historic England reported to the couple, according to Budworth.
Although the couple does not have the resources to invest in the professional conservation of the exposed mural, they have wanted to incorporate it into their decoration.
Budworth said: “If we could find some kind of funding to help us keep it, I’d be willing to go as far as removing the cabinets from the wall, but unfortunately I don’t think that will happen. The other one, however, will be kept for the best that we can”.
Historic England confirmed to CNN that it had visited the property and had passed on images of the paintings to the Wall Painting Conservation department at London’s Courtauld Institute of Art.
In a statement to CNN, a Historic England spokeswoman said: “The discovery of these 17th century murals in a house in Micklegate, York, is fascinating. They were first discovered in 1998 and then covered up. We have been involved in documenting of the murals and have helped the current owner take better care of them since they were recently rediscovered.”
“They raise a number of questions about the age of the buildings in this historic row house and about the history of Micklegate itself. Finds like this tell us that our historic houses hold many secrets and we have been pleased to work with this owner in caring for these murals. for the future”.
Source: CNN Espanol