Monday, 17 March 2014

Faustina’s Return and the Luck of a Rabbit’s Foot

Last year, Cliveden Conservation took away one of our sculptures, a bust of Faustina, to provide her with some much-needed treatment. She was returned to us on Tuesday, in time for the House reopening fully on Saturday.
Faustina coming out of her box. Cliveden used a pump truck to get her to the right height before putting her back in place - she's an incredibly heavy lady!
Cliveden treated and reconditioned the previous damage she has suffered, such as around her neck. She has also been repatinated to return her appearance to have it might have looked in the 18th Century.

This bust of the Roman Empress Faustina is from the 2nd century AD and was collected for Petworth by the 2nd Earl of Egremont.
 Julia also spent time on Tuesday repairing a rabbit’s feet from a sculpture in the Marble Hall. When they came to assess the sculpture last year, the rabbit was only missing one foot, but the other was incredibly loose and structurally unsound. The condition of the marble has deteriorated over time, leaving the marble with a sugary texture, making it weaker and therefore more susceptible to damage.
The decision was made to remove both feet so that they could be taken away and consolidated before being refitted. 

The feet are reattached by placing a length of metal dowel into the foot along with a special adhesive before being connected to the main body of the sculpture. It takes around 10-15 minutes for the adhesive to set (and longer for it to be fully sound), so tape is used to support the sculpture while it dries.

Sculpture and, importantly, rabbit complete with feet!
We are very pleased to have the rabbit back in one piece – a legless rabbit did look somewhat odd, and hopefully the feet will bring us luck for the season!

Conservation Assistant

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