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A golden quill

Statue of St. Ambrose.

The sandstone statue of St. Ambrose standing in the corner of the sanctuary holds a book and writing quill. The stone mason had proved his skill by carving a slender feather from stone without it breaking. The statue was carved at a time when it was unconceivable such statuary would ever be moved about, or that such fine churches would one day be closed.

Happily, Saint Ambrose had been re-instated in the grade two listed church of St. Ambrose. Perhaps it was during in his transferral from one place to another that his feather quill was first broken. The quill had been since repaired but subsequently fractured in several places, and the writing tip was missing. Our job was to repair the feather quill to make it appear unscathed, and then to gild it, along with his book.

While I almost always take "before and after" images for our records, on this occasion we only took a couple of "afters" with David's mobile. (Which hasn't the best of cameras!)

Gilding statue of Saint Ambrose
Gilding statue of Saint Ambrose

Because of the weight of the statue we worked in situ, and visited the church of St. Ambrose over several days to complete the work. This was to ensure sufficient curing at each stage in the process, before moving on to the next, as this gives the most pleasing and lasting results.

Now the statue of Saint Ambrose has a gilded book and a golden quill to remind us of his theological writings which contribute to the understanding of our faith.

St. Ambrose with his golden quill and gilded book
St. Ambrose with his golden quill and gilded book

About Saint Ambrose

Ambrose is a fourth century saint, who was made Bishop of Milan by popular acclaim for his ability to mediate and govern fairly. Ambrose wrote on many aspects of faith, and is credited with developing a form of chant (antiphonal or Ambrosian chant) where one side of the choir alternately responds to the other.

My next post: Master of the Blue Crucifix


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