Henry VIII Uncovered
A 16th Century mural containing a depiction of King Henry VIII has been discovered by a couple at their home in Somerset.
Rhodri and Angie Powell live at the Old House, a Grade II * building in Milverton which once served as the summer residence of Thomas Cranmer, the Arch Deacon of Taunton who went on to become the Archbishop of Canterbury.
It is believed that the mural, which measures approximately 6ft high and 20ft wide in total, was painted sometime around 1532-1542 as an expression of loyalty to the king.
The discovery was made after the Powells called in a specialist Conservation Plasterer to attend to a section of damp and failing 1950’s gypsum skim coming loose on one of the walls in the property’s grand Main Hall.
As a section of the loose gypsum plaster was removed by the Plasterer, a small patch of an earlier render underneath it fell off, revealing bright colours below.
As more of the gypsum and render was carefully removed it became clear that a substantial wall painting was being concealed below.
Before the full image was revealed the Powells contacted English Heritage and the county Archaeological and Natural History Society to alert them of the discovery of a seemingly ancient wall painting.
After seeking specialist advice on how best to proceed with the removal of the overlying plasters, the Powells took measures to document and record the unveiling process in order to provide an invaluable point of reference for current and future generations of experts and enthusiasts alike.
As the painstaking work proceeded the significance of the wall painting was confirmed by the discovery that the wall painting contained the depiction of a royal subject.
This significance was massively amplified when the somewhat familiar face of Henry VIII emerged from behind the plaster, as until that moment there were no known original wall paintings of the Tudor King in existence.
‘The Milverton Mural’, as it has become known, has been declared as being of ‘national importance’ to the UK by prominent figures in the field, but the interest and excitement over the discovery has been truly global - with the internet currently awash with news reports and forum discussions posted from all over the world.
At the time of writing specialist cleaning and restoration of the painting continues while measures to help safeguard and preserve the iconic image for the coming centuries are carefully considered by experts.
CAD Architects acted as Agent for Mr & Mrs Powell in their recent and successful application for Listed Building Consent for various alteration and refurbishment works to their Grade II* listed home in Milverton, Somerset.
The Powells plan to upload a website in the near future (www.milvertonmural.com) which will make up-to-date information and photographs available to enthusiasts and researchers both at home and abroad.