On a cold December day just before Christmas 2013, we 3D scanned some coloured fragments of statues in Tewkesbury Abbey to try and recreate the relics in their original glory by first piecing them together digitally. Dating from around 1430, the statues depicted gentry from the surrounding area and in particular from the well-connected Despenser family.


Within the main body of the Abbey is the beautiful stone-carved Warwick Chapel. The chapel contains 12 empty stone niches which originally housed the statues, but at some point in time, and nobody really knows when, the statues were quite violently smashed from their niches. Maybe someone bore a grudge against the family, or maybe it was an Abbey theft.


Over many years, art historians have gathered together the fragments of the medieval pieces which were discovered in various locations and in various states of disrepair. Some fragments were small and difficult to interpret whilst some were quite obviously torsos or body parts with painted gowns, cloaks, footwear and other garments clearly visible.


The collected fragments were located in a chamber down labyrinthine passages in the Abbey and getting the scanning equipment there was quite a feat in itself. We used a ScanWorks V5 Laser Scanner attached to a portable arm to achieve incredibly accurate results.