When Cardinal Wolsey began his magnificent palace on the Thames, he chose to build in red brick, rather than stone because it was a highly fashionable building material and a clear expression of his wealth and status.
From evidence in the surviving fabric, we can see that soft, Tudor bricks were laid in a cream-coloured lime mortar which had a ‘double-struck’ or ‘birds beak’ profile.
On the show faces of the palace the brick was colour-washed or ‘ruddled’ in red with the diaper bricks picked out in black and the mortar in white. This would have provided a unified and, to our eyes, quite garish appearance which would have made the workmanship appear of much higher quality than it actually was.
Completed project works
Issues that were addressed:
• Previous brickwork repairs in the 19th century, including re-pointing the brickwork in a hard mortar containing black ash, meant that the building could not ‘breathe’
• Reinstating the Tudor appearance to many parts of the palace
Some of the works carried out:
• Removal of the Victorian timber sash windows with stone windows
• Carrying out of extensive brick repairs and repointing
• Removal of the black ash mortar and re-pointing in a softer lime mortar