18th Century

Client: The National Trust

Location: The former Blewcoat School, Queen Anne's Gate, London

This painted lead figure had suffered damage in the form of splitting and fracturing, caused by corrosion of the internal iron armature on both lower legs and the feet, and also under the right arm. The right thumb was slightly crushed to due an impact at some time in the past. The fractures in the lead were not considered to be threatening the structural stability of the sculpture but were filled during conservation to prevent further water ingress and consequent continued corrosion of the armature.

It is known that the figure was painted when it was first erected in the mid-eighteenth century, and paint samples were taken for analysis to establish the original colour scheme. Research also revealed that it was repaired and decorated again in the 1950’s, with subsequent repainting in the 1960’s and 1980’s.

The paint was carefully stripped from the figure using a chemical paint remover, then the lead was cleaned and repainted with primer, mid and top coats, and the buttons leaf gilded, to replicate the original scheme.