We repair lead garden ornaments on a daily basis. Below is a cross section of our restoration work, and some iconic conservation pieces we've brought back to life.
The majority of our work is for medium sized statues for private clients. As you will be able to see we can repair any size ornament. For larger ornaments or overseas repair work we will normally restore on location.
Most lead figures are restorable. Quotations and practical advice are given freely by craftsmen.
F A T H E R T I M E
W H I T E M A N
The “White Man” statue (Antinious by Andries Carpentiere, 1670-1737), Knowsley Park, Merseyside, before restoration. barely discernable facial detail and complete exposure of right leg.
By Gilbert Bayes 1914
Photos are deceiving of its immense size. The head of this large as life figure had started to deteriorate and was in desperate need of restoration. Luckily all fragments were present providing a foundation to faithfully restore. Repair done on location.
18th C E N T U R Y P U T T I F I G U R E S
The picture above shows a pile of lead shattered into many pieces, which was offered to us as scrap. On pointing out exactly what they were, the client was more than happy to receive back a pair of early 18th Century Putti figures.
D A N C I N G G I R L
Pictured is a good example of an early H.Crowther piece with severe damage from a dispute with a tractor some 30 years before, it laid in an outbuilding until recently, considered beyond hope and of scrap value only.
D I A N A T H E H U N T R E S S
SKYLANDS, NEW JERSEY
'Dianna The Huntress' the statue was made in 1924 by Henry Crowther and was fully restored by his grandson Paul and Peter McBride following damage by a falling tree bough.
It is based on a statue which stands at the Louvre, Paris. Only three examples have ever been made, two of which can now be found in the USA.
H U S H B O Y F I N I A L
Hush Boy Finial completely tipped to one side, easily rectified and securely restored again.
H A R L E Q U I N A N D C O L U M B I N E
Discovery of the lost Harlequins of Wrest Park
A pair of 18th century lead figures of Harlequin and Columbine attributed to John Cheere (1709-1787).
On Show At Wrest Park This Present Day (Below Left).
F L O R A
DARTINGTON HALL, DEVON -
Flora by John Cheere. A popular 18th century garden figure, Flora was cast at the Hyde Park workshop in London. There was extensive damage and a full restoration was needed, including a new internal armature.
18th C E N T U R Y G A M E K E E P E R A N D H O U N D
18th century Gamekeeper by John Cheere.
'THE GREEN MAN' Norfolk.
This is the third Gamekeeper that we have had to fully restore. This one being rare as it still had remnants of the original paint finish and also the hound was missing from the others.
1920s V I C T O R Y
1920s Lead Victory Figure.
By Henry Crowther fl. 1876-1962
Victory became a very popular figure in the years following the end of World War One. Henry having fought in the war decided to add this to the Crowther collection on his return from the front.
This figure appears in our very first catalogue.
20th C E N T U R Y W A T E R C A R R I E R
Bromsgrove guild Early 20th century.
This fountain needed re-plumbing and other obvious work to restore it back into a working fountain.
Bromsgrove guild were famous for many prestigious commisions, including the present gates of Buckingham Palace.
M A D O N N A A N D C H I L D
Monumental, 20th century, weighing over three tons, a lead sculpture of Madonna and Christ Child, by Sir Joseph Epstein (1880-1959), sited at The King’s Fund Building, Cavendish Square, London W1.
The figure was completely restored in situ over the road arch. (with the help of a cherry picker)
18th C E N T U R Y F I G U R E O F P U N C H
18th century Punch by John Cheere.
A rare and amusing life size casting of the 18th century psychopathic wife beater from the Italian Comede del Arte character. This was our senior restorer Peter McBride's first independent project of importance in 1986. He took great delight in this restoration and has never look back. At auction, Punch eventually sold for four times his estimate. By no accident he was sold to a well known boxing promoter.
V A S E
18th C E N T U R Y S W A N
18th century Swan fountain by John Van Nost
This was a fortunate discovery as it was found at a rural auction listed as a 'Damaged cement bird' It was brought to us in very poor condition and covered with up to fifteen layers of paint.
After weeks of gently removing the paint to preserve the natural patina, we revealed the finest of chasing and all totally intact.
E A R L Y 20th C E N T U R Y D E E R
The original deer was found during the excavation of Herclaneum and now stands on show in the museum of Naples.
This early copy was brought to us with certain parts of its' legs missing and in need of a lot of attention. Due to the fact we have a wealth of old moulds, we were able to remake and restore the legs to their original form.
However, on the owners insistence the antlers are now facing the wrong way.
20th C E N T U R Y G I R L W I T H N E S T O F B I R D S
20th century. Girl with nest of birds. By H Crowther Ltd.
This figure is a good example of a modest Edwardian lead piece. It had been stored in a barn in Suffolk from 1950 until it was restored in 2010. It was used for target practice, probably by the G.Is that were billeted in the main house in 1944.
This was thought to be beyond repair by the family, but they still kept hold of it for 60 years. This is a great example of restoring a treasured family item of modest value and it is now back where it belongs, on the lawn of the family home.
19th C E N T U R Y P A I R O F R U S T I C F I G UR E S
19th century pair of rustic figures, Makers unknown.
These large as life figures are possibly from the low countries and should not be confused with the English 18th century pieces they allude to, which is often the case. There are quite a few varied examples of these 'Continentals' life size and three quarters life. They are in fact very well made and also cast in the lost wax method.
A P A I R O F 18th C E N T U R Y E A G L E S
18th century Eagles By John Cheere
Both these eagles suffered severe damage following a fall from a high pediment during construction work. During restoration additional security was added and the eagles are more stable now than the day they were first cast. No new lead was added to the restoration of these eagles.
18th C E N T U R Y F I G U R E O F F L O R A
18th century Flora.
By John Cheere.
We were able to replace the missing leg and match it very successfully. We pride ourselves on the fact that we leave no trace once we have finished a restoration project, regardless of it's size, age or value.
18th C E N T U R Y S I T T I N G H O U N D
18th century hound
By John Van Nost
Sometimes it's the smaller pieces that bring the most satisfaction.
We were very excited to restore this rare John Van Nost hound and hand it back to its' very pleased owner.
18th C E N T U R Y S H E P H A R D A N D
S H E P H E R D R E S S
18th century shepherd and sheperdess
By John Cheere
These life size lead figures are identical to the pair on the ramparts of Powys Castle Wales. A full restoration was required and the transformation is evident from the photos. These are considered to be the pinnacle of Cheere's rustic arcadian pieces, cast in his unique style. Every damaged piece was saved.
18th C E N T U R Y F I G U R E O F T H E
G O D D E S S N I K E
18th century, The Goddess Nike, also known as Victory.
By John Van Nost the elder.
Historically from Acton Burnell Park. This life size lead statue came to us needing a full restoration, including new armature. There was no evidence of former repairs by good intentioned plumbers or handymen, this made our job a lot easier.
M A I N T A I N I N G 18th C E N T U R Y F I G U R E S
Maintenance of larger figures is always important.
Keeping an eye on larger figures, such as the ones above and below, is the best way to protect yourself from expensive and intrusive restoration projects. Most of the time there is no need to have larger figures clad in expensive and time consuming scaffolding. Regular maintenance prevents major disturbance.
19th C E N T U R Y S P H I N X
19th century lead sphinx.
This copy of a terracotta original needed it's head replacing after becoming detached. The owners of the gardens were very pleased with the restoration and have now stopped visitors from climbing on it.
Copyright H.Crowther Ltd 2017©