St. Patrick Smiles Again
Updated: Feb 14
The head teacher of St.Patrick's catholic school asked if we could restore the statue of their patron saint which had once stood outside the building.
St. Patrick was not at his best, his base had crumbled, the lower half fractured in two, and the crosier broken.
The pigment on the eyes had turned a bright yellow, and this put him on the edge of - well, scary - looking to be honest!
The statue had been repaired so many times, that he was no longer able to withstand the rigours of the outdoors. With old paint removed, we could see that the figure was a heavy terracotta of the type used to build the Victorian drainage systems -built to last!
school days & St.Patrick
I have happy memories from my school days associated with St. Patrick. On feast days we would attend Mass at the adjoining church to sing:
"Hail glorious saint Patrick dear saint of our isle, On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile...And now thou art high in the heavens above ~
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love!"
Even though Liverpool is many miles away from Erin, it didn't seem to matter. The Irish priests who had served the people of Liverpool for centuries, and those of Irish descent sang with such gusto, as to shake the rafters.
The event made me feel like St. Patrick was a very "Glorious" saint indeed!
David re-assembled the statue, and repaired it, we also carved a new crosier head.
A new head was made for one of the snakes which coiled around his feet. plaster. The new head had to be modelled follow the style of the existing snake. Finally, with all the old weathered paint removed, I was able to add some colour.
Iconography of Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick was re- painted in his traditional colours; the blue of Our Lady, used in early priestly robes, and the Green of the Emerald Isle. As Saint Patrick was the school patron, it was important to add the colours which fit his iconography, so that any catechesis about St. Patrick can be fully explained to the children.
It was exciting to see a face emerge which had been hidden for so many years; Below is the finished statue awaiting return to Thornaby. Now St. Patrick is looking is "glorious" again, and smiling on the Pupils of St. Patrick's school (and the Head teacher who had the vision to restore him despite his condition) I am in no doubt.