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St. Albans restores four medieval paintings using light

st albans cathedral

Przemysław Sakrajda|Wikipedia|CC BY-SA 3.0

Daniel Esparza - published on 12/17/22

The oldest site of continuous Christian worship in Britain, St. Albans is using light projections to show how its medieval decorations would have looked.

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Located north of London, St. Albans Cathedral is known for being the oldest site of continuous Christian worship in all Britain. The walls of the 11th-century cathedral were once covered with paintings. From the 16th century on, many of these images were covered up, as Reformed church authorities considered them idolatrous. Starting in 2019, St. Albans started using light projections to show how these images would have looked in the Middle Ages. Four of them, at least.

Amazing project at St Albans Cathedral to show us how #medieval paintings looked like #stalbans#cathedral#art#arthistory#medievaltiktok

♬ Pange lingua (Gregorian chant) – Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

The images recreated correspond to St. Thomas Becket, a scene showing Sts. Alban and Amphibalus (Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae holds it was St. Amphibalus who baptized Alban), one for St. Christopher, and an image of the 13th-century Italian St. Zita (oftentimes spelled Sitha in English).

As explained in the note published by, “measurements and high-resolution photographs were taken of the artworks to help discover their original colors” to make sure the reconstructions were accurate. Some of the materials originally used by these medieval artists included gold leaf and semi-precious stones, properly powdered to make pigments.

The light projections are beamed from different cameras mounted high up along the walls of the main nave of the cathedral and can be seen during daily tours. You can find out more about this church (and about Britain’s first saint) at the cathedral’s own website.

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