Visitors to Hereford Cathedral can now get closer to its unique world map than at any other time in its 700-year-old history. The results of a two-year project informed by visitor feedback and funded by the Hereford Mappa Mundi Trust mean that viewers can get within a few centimetres of the map’s intriguing uneven vellum surface, which is teeming with more than a thousand inscriptions and almost as many images.
The new display is closer, lower and brighter, making the map feel as if it is floating in front of you. It was designed by the map’s conservator, Chris Clarkson, built and engineered by designer-craftsman Bernard Allen, and with new LED lighting by DHA Design, installed by CF Roberts Limited of Hereford.
Factum Arte, an innovative enterprise based in Madrid, Milan and London which brings together experts in art, technology and conservation under the directorship of Adam Lowe, have used cutting-edge technology to take an incredibly detailed true-colour image of the map. This data will be combined with that from a 3D scan of the map’s surface made three years ago to produce computer-generated images which will reveal far more than can be seen by the naked eye and from which an exact 3D facsimile could be made.
‘There are many unanswered questions about the map’s origins and how it was made. Now we have a rich cache of fresh data with which to examine these anew,’ said Dr Rosemary Firman, Cathedral Librarian.
Revd Canon Christopher Pullin, Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral said ‘I’m thrilled to see what a difference the new presentation of the Mappa has made. People will be nearer to it than ever before, and seeing it finger-tip close there’s a real sense of excitement. Congratulations to everyone involved!’
The exhibition reopens on Monday 1 February and is open daily Monday – Saturday 10am – 4 pm. All welcome. Exhibition charges apply.