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Case Study: Breathable Claypaint used for St Patrick’s Cathedral conservation project

24th June 2020

Lady Chapel at St Patricks Cathedral project

Over the years, we have been lucky enough to see our paints used on some unique and inspiring conservation projects; from listed private properties to important historical buildings. Many architects specify Earthborn Claypaint for heritage projects in particular, due to its excellent coverage, ultra flat matt finish and high breathability.


The Lady Chapel conservation project

Delving into our Earthborn archive are a varied mix of conservation projects. Many of these require breathable paint, including the beautiful Lady Chapel at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.


Founded in 1191, St Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland. It includes very fine examples of Irish architectural styles, from its 13th Century arcades to its 19th Century restoration. The Lady Chapel was rebuilt during that restoration. Designed by Richard Cromwell Carpenter in 1845 and completed in 1865, it features stone from Bath, Dundry and Kilkenny.

St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin. Image courtesy of John Beauchamp Architects

St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. Image courtesy of John Beauchamp Architects


In September 2012, the Lady Chapel was closed for a major conservation and cleaning project. The work included an extensive cleaning of the space including all the stone work, monuments, stained glass and the floor tiles, along with removing old masonry paint and cleaning down the lime plastered surfaces.  All plastered surfaces required repainting, including vaulted ribs as well as ceilings and walls.

Earthborn breathable Claypaint used for conservation project The Lady Chapel at St Patrick's Cathedral

The Lady Chapel ceiling before cleaning and painting and after. Image courtesy of John Beauchamp Architects

Why Earthborn Claypaint was used

The contract was run collaboratively by Benjamin & Beauchamp Architects stand main contractor Conservation & Restoration (Ireland) Ltd. Benjamin & Beauchamp specified Earthborn’s Claypaint for the job. Project architect John Beauchamp said, “We needed a paint that was fully compatible with lime plaster and highly breathable in order to prevent any issues with damp. A colleague had used Claypaint on a previous church project and recommended it to me.

Bespoke Claypaint colours mixed for the conservation project at St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Bespoke Claypaint colours mixed for the conservation project at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

“I investigated further and conducted extensive trials with the co-operation of Earthborn’s national distributor for Ireland, Stoneware Studios. I found that the density and opacity of the paint was great for covering uneven surfaces and that it will be ideal for any touch ups in the future because of its low reflective value.

“Stoneware Studios worked closely with us to create two customised shades: one is St Patrick’s Blue, a shade synonymous with the Cathedral, and the other a hint of ochre to integrate with the Dundry stone columns and ceiling ribs.

The refurbished Lady Chapel at St Patrick's Cathedral using Earthborn's breathable Claypaint

The refurbished Lady Chapel at St Patrick’s Cathedral using Earthborn’s breathable Claypaint

“We applied a diluted base coat and two further coats to ensure maximum effect. Our painting contractor had not used Claypaint before but was very impressed with the way it covers and its finished effect.”

We’re proud that Earthborn Claypaint was chosen for this truly breathtaking project. Available in 72 beautiful shades, we can also produce bespoke colours to suit a variety of projects. Contact our technical team on 01928 734171 to discuss bespoke colour mixing options for your project!

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