Molasses and the Monument

Lynn Goswick

St. Paul’s Chapel is temporarily closed for restoration. Read more here.

When visitors enter the newly renovated St. Pauls’ Chapel in October, they will notice more than a new historically-appropriate paint scheme and chandeliers that sparkle and shine more brightly. It won’t be difficult for them to see that the monuments to former parishioners and clergymen gleam from some reinvigorating TLC.

While a steam shower and wax are responsible for the glow of the marble, most visitors won’t guess a key ingredient used to help make the monuments’ lettering "pop" may be found in their own cupboards.

Steve Tatti of Tatti Conservation in New York, recently explained how many conservators, including his company, protect a monument while applying new color or reinforcing an existing color within the carved lettering.

In order to protect the flat area of the monument, conservators like Tatti use molasses as a "resist," or layer of protection, so the paint sits inside the lettering but doesn’t stick to those flat surfaces.

So George Warner's almost 200-year-old monument goes from this:

To this.