Click on this Logo for a larger version (54kB)

Home Up Contents Search Feedback Site History

Nursery Rhymes
Greetings Cards
First and Last
Named after
About Us
Find out more

Restoration of Caldecott Memorial


Fig10, Column, Before Conservation Since beginning work on the Caldecott Memorial and inspecting it under better lighting conditions, it has become apparent that the coating which has been applied to the child is also present in large, patchy areas on the surrounding bronze and stone work.  This coating is now a reddish, dark brown colour and where thickly applied, is still soft.  There is also a waxy build up in the details of the bronze columns and capitals.

Finding the coating on the stone work and noting its haphazard application led me to believe that the coating is not an original toning glaze which has discoloured, as I first thought, but rather a coating applied by St Paul's cleaning staff in the past, with the good intention of rendering the monument clean and bright.

Discussions with the Clerk of the Works and the Cathedral Carver revealed that raw linseed oil mixed with beeswax and white spirit or turpentine was applied to numerous artifacts in the Cathedral (this was stopped in 1998), he confirmed that the coating on the memorial looks like this linseed mix.

Having removed the coating from the flesh areas of the child, the appearance of the monument is greatly improved, this will be further improved when the removal of the coating from the stonework has been completed.  However, its removal from the robes of the child will provide a greatly altered appearance.  At present, the robes are uneven in colour and dull, after removal of the coating the aluminium will be revealed.

Fig 08, Right Hand, Before Conservation

Fig 09, Right Hand, during removal of Coating

Fig 8:  Before

Fig 9: During removal of Coating

This information was put forward for discussion at a Fabric Advisory Committee meeting in December 2002.  The Committee agreed that the coating on the robes should be removed.

Joanna Wharley from the V&A Metals Conservation Department confirmed that Gilbert often used aluminium with little or no toning and that the anticipated appearance of the cleaned robe would not be unusual for this artist.

S Wright
Conservator, St. Paul's Cathedral
November 2002

2002 St. Paul's Cathedral, London, England.   Reproduced with permission.

Home Up Recomms2000 Cleaning2002 Results2003

Questions or comments about this web site?  E mail  with "Caldecott" included in the "Subject" line of your message.  (Sorry, but to protect ourselves from SPAM we have to ask you to type email addresses and subjects manually.)
2000, 2004 Randolph Caldecott Society UK.  
Unless otherwise stated, material from this site may be freely copied and reproduced, but please acknowledge where you got it from!           Last modified:  08 Oct 2003