Queen Tamar at Vardzia from 1184-86Queen Tamar at Vardzia is an iconic image of Georgian History. Dating from 1184-86, it forms part of the wall paintings adorning the Church of the Dormition, the focal point of this famous rock-cut monastery in Southern Georgia. Comprising images of the Virgin, donors and nationally revered saints, with scenes from the Passion of Christ, the wall paintings survive almost complete. View images.

But their condition is alarming. Much of the painting is difficult to decipher due to smoke blackening and unsympathetic repairs. Past cleaning has not recognised their fragility. They are delicate paintings of extraordinary complexity, which may even employ oil as a binding medium.

The new understanding of their complexity, only realised in 2011 through preliminary scientific examination, will have huge implications for Vardzia but also for other Georgian wall paintings, which include some of the finest in the world. The conservation project at Vardzia, with detailed scientific studies and long-term training of Georgian students and conservators, will transform the understanding and care of Georgian wall paintings. 

The National Agency for Cultural heritage preservation of Georgia, the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts and the Courtauld Institute of Art - building on 15 years of Courtauld-Georgian collaboration in conservation - are joining forces for this project. it will be the first such joint conservation project to be undertaken in Georgia itself, and set within a wider framework of conservation and advice, will be a fundamental step in ensuring the future preservation of Georgia's magnificent heritage of wall paintings. 

For this project to begin in 2012, the Courtauld is raising half the necessary funding. If you would like to help by becoming a Vardzia Guardian Angel, please contact Samuel Coote of the Courtauld Development Office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Donations by individual UK taxpayers are eligible for Gift Aid. For more information as to how donations and sponsorship can be featured, please contact Professor David Park, Director of the Conservation of Wall painting Department at the Courtauld This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Latest News

The Rustaveli Day at the Royal Asiatic Society, 11 November 2019

The Rustaveli Day will be held at 6.30pm on the 11 November 2019 at the Royal Asiatic Society (14 Stephenson Way, London, NW1 2HD). This year we continue with the Anglo-Georgian connection series and discover the fascinating stories of Princess Tamara Imeretinsky, a Bagrationi of Imereti in exile; and Michael Aramyants, a prominent Tbilisi industrialist and philanthropist. The event will be followed by Georgian wine and canapes. 

BGS Annual General Meeting, 20 November 2019

British Georgian Society is holding its AGM on 20 November at the London Scottish House (95 Horseferry Road, SW1P 2DX). Doors open at 6.15 for a 6.30 start. After the business part of the meeting our speaker will be Edward Marr who will present a talk on his ancestor and Nicholai Marr and his Scottish roots. Georgian wine and nibbles will be provided. 

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