INAUGURATION OF THE RESTORATION OF THE CHOIR OF THE NEW PLASENCIA CATHEDRAL, IN CÁCERES

The restoration of the choir of the new Plasencia Cathedral has recently been completed.  The choir, designed by the master, Rodrigo Alemán, was originally installed in the Old Cathedral and was transferred and adapted to the new central nave of its current location in 1565. Its ashlar is composed of sixty-seven seats, about eighty marquetry boards and more than a thousand pieces of walnut, richly carved with iconography.  This project, which recovered a work that was outstanding, due to the extraordinary quality of the sculptures, the creativity of its size and the inclusion of backings with panels with inlays featuring the Saints and the Catholic Kings, has been promoted and developed by the Heritage Cultural Institute of Spain (IPCE).

A multidisciplinary team made up of Kalam’s professionals, specialists in restoration, historical carpentry, chemistry and documentary images, directed by Laura Ceballos of the Heritage Institute and Manolo Montañes, from Kalam, has been responsible for carrying out the restoration work that has lasted 16 months.

The restoration work has allowed an in-depth study of the work.  During the disassembly phase, it was possible to analyse the different anchoring and construction systems that had been hidden until now, as well as to collect new information such as the different marks and signing systems used and the preparatory drawings and sketches made on the backs of the tablets. This data lets us better understand the work and its environment.  The intervention was based on extensive documentary collection, the initial state of conservation, material and technical characteristics and a detailed classification of all its elements.  The information obtained in advance and during the intervention has been carefully collected and documented together with photographic and planimetry material.

Tests and studies have been carried out to verify the suitability of the materials used and their safety, including polychromatic cleaning tests, the removal of waxes and non-original finishes, and photos with a digital microscope or ultraviolet light. For the work, an on-site workshop was installed, where our specialists developed the work necessary to recover all the beauty of choir, including the medieval and Renaissance language.  Among the techniques used was the laser cleaning of the delicate wood carvings. Work was also performed on the essential pieces of this composition, such as the spires of the King and Queen and the Bishop’s seat.

To ensure adequate conservation after restoration, the walls and the environment were cleaned.  In the end, each piece was reassembled exactly in its original place, following the arrangement of 1565.

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