A British man renovating his kitchen discovered a 400-year-old wall paintings of “national significance” in his flat in northern England. According to the BBC, Luke Budworth, who is a medical researcher at Leeds University, uncovered the friezes, dating back to about 1660, on a wall at his home in Micklegate in York city. Mr Budworth said he was “very excited” to find the paintings and want to conserve them for future generations.
According to the outlet, the 29-year-old was giving his flat’s kitchen a refresh last year when contractors noticed a mysterious infrastructural situation underneath his cupboard. “I got my tools out and started chipping away at the board. As soon as I lifted the panel off, there it was, beautiful colours, with some still remaining layers of wallpaper from the Victorian era,” he said.
Mr Budworth’s investigation then led him to discover that the paintings featured scenes from a 1635 book called Emblems by poet Francis Quarles. He revealed that the newly exposed frieze depicts a Biblical scene in which a man in a cage is pulled along by an angel. It also features a man in a white cart who “looks like he’s riding to the kingdom of heaven”.
As per CNN, Mr Budworth then contacted Historic England about the paintings and the team helped him find out more about their significance. A representative was sent to survey the artwork and take some detailed professional photographs. The public body even gave Mr Budworth a high-quality, life-size replica of the frieze and advised him to cover it up in order to preserve it.
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Simon Taylor, Historic England’s senior architectural investigator for the north region, said it was an “exciting rediscovery”. “We think they are of national significance and in the context of York, where domestic wall paintings are quite rare, they are of special interest,” he added.
According to Mr Taylor, the wall the scenes are painted on could be older than the buildings on either side of it. The paintings are also cut off by the ceiling and the front of the building, which could help researchers piece together the development of the street.
Notably, Mr Budworth moved to York from Warrington, partly because of the city’s history, he said. He stated that his finding has now inspired him to find out more about the social history of Micklegate. He also hopes to secure funding for conservation work to be carried out on the paintings.