Plaster Saints &
On restoring this carved wood statue of the Sacred Heart for London church, we found a surprise or two...
The base had some physical damage, and had been heavily painted ; we discovered that the original colour had been a deep blue, and the emblems of Christ's passion had once been painted entirely gold.
To the reverse of the statue, a construction panel had shrunk back as the timber has dried out over a period of time.
(Dry air from church heating systems can exacerbate this problem.)
These splits extend through to the front of the statue and continue up into the right hand side of the head. That's consistent with it following the path of the wood grain.
Occasionally, the grade of wood used in a statue is poor, and this makes it subject to atmospheric changes,
It appeared that the original hands of the statue had been removed, and replaced with resin hands. They had been attached with bathroom type silicone, and the bridging pin used to hold the two together (shown below left) was inadequate.
Occasionally, wood carvers will carve hands separately and attach later, with an authentic wooden joint.
The above photo shows the right hand of the statue re-attached. If compared with the position of the hand before repair ( see above left) its possible to see that it has been re-positioned to affect a more naturalistic and elegant gesture.
Lewis and Lewis
is a Catholic family run business: specialising in statue restoration, and church interior projects.
Jeanette is a professional sculptor/fine artist and designer; husband David is a traditional upholsterer/technician.
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