St John 1693 carved in Bermudan Juniper. Workshop of Grindling Gibbons, in our Northamptonshire StudioCASE STUDIES
TRINITY COLLEGE CHAPEL, OXFORD. TimberThe antechapel screen features four apostle figures carved in 1693 as part of the Grinling Gibbons/Arthur Frogley woodwork. They are unique in both in the timber used (Bermudan Juniper) and the very high quality of the figurative work for this date. A pair of winged victories surmount the broken pediment of the Reredos. The sculptures are constructed of several blocks of timber, some of which had delaminated. Structural repairs were carried out and carving replaced where this conferred a structural benefit. Test cleaning and microscopy carried out by Swan Farm Studios, had established that much of the seventeenth century sandarac/white mastic varnish survived under a very dark Vandyke brown varnish applied in 1867. This later layer was removed in our workshops, in what SPAB magazine described as “a labour of love” to reveal the sculptures much as their designer intended.
ST GEORGE’S CHAPEL WINDSOR.CoadstoneThe virgin and child that centres the west front of St Georges chapel at Windsor Castle, is one of the earliest post-reformation statues of its subject on a public building. Made in the late 1790s by Mrs Eleanor Coade’s workshop in Vauxhall, the statue of the virgin is adapted from a statue of a Roman vestal virgin in the Coade catalogue of this period! The Christ Child appears to have been adapted from a cherub with an altered head.This caused a weakness in the neck area and the eventually head sheared and was destroyed. A poor quality replacement in bath stone was fitted as a repair. A new head was modelled based on early photographs of the original. We trialed several coadstone recipes based on a British Museum analysis of a coadestone sample and fired them at a range of temperatures untill a good match was found. The piece was modelled 8% over size to allow for shrinkage. The new head fitted with a reversible stainless steel fixing.
Sydenham House Devon. Cob and Lime plasterA commonwealth period overmantle at Sydenham House. After a major fire, the overmantle suffered severe water damage that caused slumping and delamination within the structure. The sculpture was in imminent danger of collapse. The piece was removed to our studio and was carefully dried, consolidated and reconstructed before refitting in the house.
Restoration of the South Pediment of Somerset House