Statue of St Joseph
The statue of Saint Joseph, niche, angels and the flat wall behind were all initially cleaned using vacuum cleaners and soft brushes to lift and remove the surface dust and dirt. Once all the surfaces were clean all the gilded and painted surfaces were conservation cleaned, using a specialist chelating agent in a water solution. The alabaster stone statue of Saint Joseph was cleaned using a poultice cleaner and polished with Renaissance microcrystalline wax. Once all the surfaces were cleaned we could then assess any damage. There were numerous areas on the gold leaf decoration that were worn through due to over cleaning in the past. We regilded the worst areas of damaged gilding using genuine 23.5crt gold leaf to match the original gold. We discovered a missing pinnacle on the canopy and the Christ child was missing a toe and fingers. The lily in St Joseph’s right hand was also severely damaged. The missing pinnacle was replaced photos 1 & 2. We took a moulding of an original pinnacle and cast an exact replica, dowelled and fixed it back in place and regilded it to match the originals. New fingers and a toe photos 3 & 4 were hand modelled using modelling clay, dowelled, fixed in place and coloured to match. The lily was repaired using wire and modelling clay. It was then gilded and coloured and re-fixed, see gallery. To protect and enhance the colours, all the painted surfaces were given a non yellowing, transparent, reversible protective coating. Click on gallery photos to view restorative processes.
Image credit ©Stephen Bellion