In a long and distinguished career, A. H. Church FRS, professor of chemistry successively at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, contributed original work to a wide range of chemical topics. As a talented painter he became an expert in the chemistry of paints and painting and was the obvious person, in 1894, to be entrusted with the conservation of the important frescoes in the Palace of Westminster, which had deteriorated with the passage of time and suffered severely in the unfavourable atmospheric conditions of Victorian London. Church identified airborne sulphuric acid as the chief destructive agent, and succeeded in halting further decay of the murals by judicious procedures, some of them of his own devising, and ensured at a critical juncture the eventual survival of these threatened art treasures. Church's 12 years’ activities in this area, being published exclusively as Parliamentary Papers, remained largely unknown except to the officials and Commissions directly concerned with the problem, but as a significant achievement in his life's work they merit due attention and credit.
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