Bronze sculpture is made by casting in sections and then joining these together by brazing, soldering, or pinning. As the castings are hollow, an internal armature is required to provide support to the sculpture. The surface would then be finely worked to disguise the joints and to add further detail, then coloured using a variety of chemicals to create an artificial patina. Over this a varnish, shellac, wax or oil would be applied to protect and enhance the colour.
If protective coatings are not maintained, outdoor bronzes lose their original artificial patina and surface coating, leading to slow corrosion of the bronze and the development of a naturally formed, green patina. The bronze can be returned to its original colour (usually a dark brown) or the natural patina can be retained. A natural patina can sometimes include disfiguring marks, which can make the sculptural form difficult to read, but these can be removed and the surface manipulated to a cohesive whole. We use traditional methods and chemicals to conserve or restore the patina. Similarly, structural repairs are made using the traditional construction methods, though if the original iron armature has corroded, it may be necessary to replace it with a new stainless steel armature and integral security fixings.
Small, interior bronzes are much less vulnerable, but may have suffered from improper cleaning, poor handling or inappropriate restoration in the past. We can also rectify these problems.