Stone busts

One of our current pieces of conservation work at Coleshill is commissioning replacement busts for two that were stolen over 20 years ago.

One of our local tenants, Tom Ball, has been busy creating replicas of the two Roman busts, which were stolen from Coleshill Gates.  The busts were of Roman Emperors Marcus Aurelius and Antoninus Pius.

We began by enlarging photos of the two busts from an old magazine article. One vital feature of both faces was missing – the noses.  Due to the busts’ positioning in the oval alcoves, the noses weren’t protected from the weather and had worn away. 

Clay model of one of the Roman Emperors
Clay model of one of the Roman Emperors
Clay model of one of the Roman Emperors

Tom and our curator researched into the Roman Emperors and used other pictures for reference to create clay models. The models were then cast in plaster and tested in situ at the end of summer 2019. Once everyone was happy, the real work began on the stone carving.  

Using the measurements of the plaster casts as his template, Tom can carve the busts from blocks of quarried Bath stone. Each bust takes around two months to create.  

The replicas will be returned to the grade I listed gate piers on completion in summer 2020.