Conserving the stucco statues at Seaton Delaval Hall
Our 18th-century stucco statues were in need of a little TLC after they'd been shot at, burned in a fire and weathered in the elements.
The figures are of an unusual construction - they appear to have been made in situ, beginning with shaped iron pieces which were covered with tiles, brick and plaster to form the shape of a mannequin, followed by muslin covered in layers of stucco plaster, giving the statues a very realistic and life-like appearance.
Several layers of dust, dirt and even birds' nests were removed from the statues so that each one could be individually assessed.
It was generally assumed that the great fire of 1822 in the hall caused the damage to the statues, but in fact the damage appears to have been as a result of forty years of exposure to the elements when the hall was left without a roof.
At least two of the statues also bear the scars of having been shot at during some point in their history!
The statues were assessed by experts and received emergency conservation to prevent their condition worsening.