Restoring lead figures is an art form in itself.
Throughout the restoration process each inch is examined. Step by step we find the best course of action for complete repair of the figure. Using traditional methods we shape and sculpt till any damage sustained becomes invisible.
Character building blemishes will remain untouched unless specifically requested to be removed. We will never produce a copy of the damaged section to use as a replacement, As we can repair the original antique section from damage. We can however replace missing limbs / sections with our vast array of old moulds that we can modify or we will sculpt a one off piece to replace the missing part.
H E R M E S
A Rare 17th Century Lead figure of Hermes by John van Nost. This figure was discovered in appalling condition in Monmouthshire. Having been subjected to many ill-advised repairs over centuries, it remained complete though. It was brought back to original condition by us, retaining its antique integrity & aged patina.
There is one other known casting of this in existence, at Melbourne Hall, Derbyshire
I. He arrived to us like this, completely detached from base and leg
II. His leg arrived shattered and crumbling. The base had been very poorly repaired by several amateurs over the years, leading to even more work.
III. Removal of past attempts to repair, we discovered the original face of Zephyr the west wind. So badly abused by past ill-advised restorers it was nothing more than the flattened outline of its face with holes and sections cut out thus making a large part of it irreparable.
IV. Piecing it back together is such a delicate process. In this case Hermes had a toe completely missing along with Zephyr's eyes, nose, lips and cheeks.
V. Here at H.Crowther we are lucky enough to have a wealth of old moulds and original sculptures. Using this wealth we were able to recreate Zephyr to the authentic original cast. By placeing the crumbled face into the mould and casting the missing pieces surrounding it.
VI. Placed on a secure platform and finished to a standard which maintains the whole figures overall patina.
VII. Now with a protective base, the crumbled fragments can slowly be pieced painstakingly back together, along with incorporating a new internal armature that will eventually support the whole figure.
VIII. Only the minimum of working area is required for each fragment, this enables almost all of its two hundred and fifty year old patina to be preserved.
IX. Now with a protective base, the crumbled fragments can slowly be pieced painstakingly back together, along with incorporating a new internal armature that will eventually support the whole figure.
X. The reconstructed leg is finally reunited with the main torso and the new armature can now anchor the whole figure.
XI. Now completely physically repaired. We painstakingly patinate the restored lead and tailor the colour to the original patina.
XII. We had to remould two new wings, which we copied from the original ankle wings, for Hermes helmet. A plumber had fashioned two for the helmet out of some old sheet lead. Although he caused no major damage, they were not right, they had to be changed.