I said I would put up some pictures about what I was doing in that church that I mentioned before, so above is a before and after depiction of one of the three 18th century wall-plaques that I restored, having been asked to by the surviving relatives.
This one was the most comprehensively restored, as it was completely falling apart - as you can see from the top pic - and much of the smaller marble was missing. It was threatening to collapse onto the worshipers, so I had to completely remove it and re-assemble it in the workshop. That is when I began to realise what I had let myself in for.
It was made in 1799 by a mason called John Pearce, who lived in nearby Frampton - a wonderful village on the Severn Estuary, which is 50% village green surrounded by fantastic stone houses and mansions. I say 'nearby', but it is a good horse-ride away from the church, which is why Mr Pearce seems to have assembled the miriad bits and pieces to make the plaque on site - I did not count the number of constituents, but they are probably into 3 figures. He seems to have been a hoarder who hated waste, as there is not one element that is made from a single piece of material. The black, obelisk backing, for instance, is made from 4 separate pieces, and - as I discovered - the back of them are not parallel to the face, which means that they vary in thickness from 1 inch to 3/8ths of an inch over a small area. You can imagine the task to cut the slate backing for it, in order to give a flat face which is polishable. That was just the beginning.
In the 'before' picture, you can see shapes which look like leaves, but these are just the scratch marks to provided a key to the marble ones which were glued on with shellac. The church used to have all these leaves in a box, but they lost them about 15 years ago, so I had to re-make the lot.
Because I assembled it in my workshop before taking it into the church and fixed it to a 1 inch slate backing which is buried in the wall, out of sight, the finished article weighs about three C.W.T. (about 336 pounds) so it was a hell of a lift to get it back into the wall, 7 feet off the ground, with the help of my assistant. Aside from the sheer effort of lifting it and placing it, there is also a good chance of losing a couple of fingers, as it is almost impossible to get them out of the way when placing the thing on the base-support, but we did it, and I lay down for 5 minutes afterwards, counting my digits.
I have previously banged on about 'not leaving my mark', but in this case, it was impossible not to, as there is just so much new material involved, and re-polishing was necessary.
The things I do for dead people.