There have been touching scenes in an East Hampshire church as a conservation project is nearing completion.

The triptych behind the high altar in St Mary’s Liss is being given a new lease of life close to its 100th anniversary.

The reredos showing a bas-relief of Our Lady and the Child were created by Martin Travers in 1927 and are among the most precious items in the parish church.

The restoration has been arranged by the new Friends of St Mary’s Liss (FOSS) group ahead of its official launch on Saturday, July 13.

The conservation work begun a fortnight ago and is being carried out by Sophie Barton, an accredited conservator and member of the Temple Studios team.

The work has included cleaning and the stabilisation of the surface decoration and underlying wood structure. The work also aims to preserve the original varnishes and consolidate its layers of silver metal leaf.

‘It’s quite an interesting example of work as it was produced between the two world wars,” said Sophie, from Petersfield.

“The conditions at the moment in the church are brilliant and that’s helped. The metal Martin has used in this piece is silver leaf but if the climactic conditions aren’t right it can tarnish it, so it’s important to maintain a stable environment like the one in here.”

Sophie added: “It’s quite a big project because of its complexities, but also in trying to understand the metals and how they react. 

“When we conserve a work of art we’re trying to preserve what’s there but also making the remains re-treatable.”

Villagers can learn more about the project and the work of FOSS during the church fete from 3pm on the 13th.

The group aims to build up support for the fabric and treasures of St Mary’s both locally and further afield.