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John Canning & Co. Earns The 2023 Bulfinch Award in the Historic Preservation Category

Work Done at St. Mary-St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Boston, MA


Cheshire CT, Sept 2023:

John Canning & Co. is honored to receive the Historic Preservation 2023 Bulfinch Awards from the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA) New England Chapter for our work at St. Mary- St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Boston, MA.

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art is a nonprofit organization that works through advocacy, education, and publication to further the classical tradition in urbanism, architecture, and the allied arts.  The New England chapter’s Bulfinch Awards are bestowed upon architects, designers, and industry professionals of superior merit for notable projects each year.

The Bulfinch Awards are hosted by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art New England Chapter (ICAA New England) and recognize practitioners from across the nation who are committed to promoting excellence in the classical tradition and allied arts within New England. All eligible projects work toward building upon the legacy of Boston's early Federal architect, Charles Bulfinch, who is widely regarded to be the first native-born American to work in the field professionally. Initiated in 2010 and modeled on the ICAA’s Arthur Ross Awards, the New England Bulfinch Awards program is an annual competition.

A true work of church architecture, this remarkable church in Boston, St. Mary’s was one of the last important works of church architect Patrick C. Keely who designed this church in the Gothic Revival style in 1882. The architecture throughout the church consists of painted decoration, ornamental plaster, ornamental wood ceilings with elaborate hammerbeams, murals, sculptures, and stained glass.

The goal of the project was to restore the originally desired intent and bring back the color palette, the incredible details and feel of the space.  This project involved a comprehensive finish restoration by John Canning & Co. that included decorative painting, gold leafing, glazing, polychrome finishes, wood finishes, art conservation, metal restoration of fixtures, as well as plaster repair and replacement including some ornamental plaster. 

Our Canning team successfully restored this historic church with assistance from Gianfranco Pocobene for art conservation and the pastor of St. Mary -St. Catherine of Siena, Rev. James J. Ronan, who was an absolute pleasure to work with.

John Canning & Co. has received many Bulfinch Awards from the New England Chapter of the ICAA. John Canning & Co. was a part of the teams of two of the projects from the educational sector that received the 2022 awards; Harrison Design’s project at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College for the Ecclesiastic Award, and Robert A.M. Stern Architect's project at Yale University’s Schwarzman Center for the Historic Preservation Award. Other  awards Canning received include the 2013 award for Cathedral of St. Patrick in Norwich, CT, the 2017 award for Saint Patrick’s Church in Lowell, MA, the 2020 award for the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, CT, and the 2021 award for St. Mary’s Church in New Haven, CT.  These awards were in the Craftsmanship/Artisanship category.

Located in Cheshire, CT., John Canning & Co. is one of the nation’s experts in historic restoration, conservation, and preservation. John Canning & Co. offers services in a variety of areas, including conservation, planning, designing, historic paint analysis, plaster condition surveys, restoration, decorative finishes and painting, budgeting, and consulting. With over 45 years of experience, John Canning & Co. has received numerous awards and has been entrusted to restore state capitols, courthouses, churches, libraries, museums, theatres, educational establishments, and other historic buildings.


StMary St Catherine Parish after restoration
Completed restoration of St. Mary - St. Catherine of Siena Parish.


StMary St Catherine Parish before StMary St Catherine Parish after

Side Altar

Close-up of two of the painted angels flanking the statue before/after restoration. In the before, the background blue was overpainted at some point, no longer showing true turquoise colors that relate to the stained-glass above.