Chartres is not all white on the night

Chartres is not all white on the night

There is an impassioned article in the New York Review of Books entitled ‘A scandalous makeover at Chartres‘ which details how, with seemingly no consultation, the interior of this magnificent cathedral has been altered. It has been painted white with added false marble and gilding in an attempt to return its appearance to the way it was when first buiit.

Which, as the author points out, is not possible not least because there was no electric light then. Most of all, the bright interior distracts from the stained glass windows, which are the chief glory of the building. 

This is an article of outrage rather than research – not that the author is not knowledgeable, but that he has not been able to establish the thinking (and there must have been some) behind the actions.

It is a reminder however that conservation and restoration continue to be controversial. We mock the ‘errors’ of the past, confident that we will not repeat them. And probably we will not. Instead we will make quite new mistakes.





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