NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Italian artist to restore Orkney Italian Chapel frescos

Inside the Italian Chapel Image copyright Other
Image caption The Madonna and child scene above the altar is a focal point in the small structure

Restoration work is being carried out on wartime frescos adorning the walls and ceiling of Orkney's Italian Chapel.

Painted by Italian prisoner-of-war Domenico Chiocchetti, the artist had made return visits to the chapel after the war to restore parts of his work.

But since his death in 1999, the interior artwork had remained untouched.

Professional art restorer Antonella Papa from Rome has now offered her services to restore the frescos.

A regular visitor to the islands she says she was moved by the story behind the chapel's creation. Ms Papa is to spend a month working on the chapel's interior.

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Media captionA professional art restorer from Rome is carrying out restoration work on Orkney's Italian Chapel
Image caption Professional art restorer Antonella Papa will spend a month working on the chapel's interior

The chapel was built by Italian prisoners-of-war during World War Two, using scrap metal and leftover concrete to create a unique place of worship.

Two Nissen huts were transformed into a tiny basilica-style space filled with images of angels and the Virgin Mary under the title Regina Pacis - Queen of Peace.

The chapel is now one of the island's most popular visitor attractions.

Secretary of the Italian Chapel Preservation Committee John Muir said it was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity to have someone with Ms Papa's skills working on the building.

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