The Letter M
DONALD W. INSALL
AND PLANNING CONSULTANTS
DONALD W. INSALL, A.R.I.B.A., A.M.T.P. I.. 5.P Dip .
PETER, E. LOCKE, A.R.I.B.A.
AILWYN BEST. B.ARCH., A.R.I.B.A.
IONA R.EID, Dipl. ARCH., A.R.I.B.A.
ALAN FROST, A.A.Dipl., A.R.I.B.A.
44, QUEEN ANNE'S GATE, ST. JAMES'S PARK, S.W. I. TEL. (01) 930. 5858
BCE/DWI/AW. 11th June, 1963.
Dear Mr. Simmons,
We have now heard from Mrs. Eve Baker about her recent visit to inspect the traces of wall painting discovered at Blackmore. She reports as follows:-
"I visited this Church in May 1963. At the time of my visit, there were workmen in the church limewashing, leaving untouched the areas where colour had been discovered. However, I feel this is a case where more might have been found had I been asked to inspect before redecoration had begun, as I found traces of detailed painting on the face of the south arcade.
What has come to light are clearly symbols, apart from the first arch where the red paint sometime formed a background for the rood.
All the colour now visible is on the north arcade. The first is on the inner face of the arch on the west side and consists of a cross roughly painted in red with, below it, an M-shape motif. This 'M’ could well be the monograph of the Virgin, even though it must have been painted after the Reformation. The only other thing it could be is the mark of the painter. On the next pier, the motif is repeated with a cross and M-shape very roughly painted on a lime ground. If the M is a painter's mark, this is a very rare thing to find in England although they have been found in Scandinavia. There are plenty of Mason's marks and I know of a plasterer's mark but if this is a painter’ss mark it is the first one I have come across, and I think it is important to keep it.
The cost of cleaning, conserving and dealing with the area in the immediate vicinity of these two paintings would cost about £30-£45. Scaffolding would not be necessary but a tall step-ladder would be needed."
It does seem-a good idea that this interesting and possibly valuable example should be cleaned and conserved; and we would be most interested to receive your instructions whether you would like this done.
We are forwarding Mrs. Baker's account for her visit and may I take it that you would like to clear this one direct? I believe this one was agreed in advance with Mr. Atwell.
I take it, by the way, that a tall step-ladder could be made available?
[Signed: Donald Insall]
C. Simmons, Esq.,
cc. Rev. M. Knott.