An important part of the curatorial team’s work is taking care of and preserving the Collection. This involves a wide range of tasks: from working with professional conservators to clean sculptures and frame prints, to moving works in and out of store during hospital refurbishment. These are all activities which support the creation of effective displays.
The images here show the restoration of a large bronze sculpture, "Horse and Rider" (1983) by Robert Clatworthy installed within a sunken landscaped garden in Charing Cross Hospital. Over the years the original dark brown patina (the tarnish which forms on the surface of the bronze) had turned to a chalky green colour, and there was evidence of further corrosion around the back of the horse’s legs. With the support of the British Land Company PLC (from whom the sculpture is on loan), we sought expert advice from Patina Art Collection Care. Using video-microscope probes to assess the cause of the problem, they determined that the cause of the damage was due to an accumulation of water, possibly due to condensation, which had been emerging slowly through pores in the bronze. Small unobtrusive holes were drilled to drain residual internal water, and the green corrosion removed and the patina restored to match the existing colour. The entire sculpture was cleaned, and coated with a special wax treatment to protect it from future weathering damage. You can find out more about the treatment, and view images of the conservation work in progress, by clicking here. (link to Patina Art website)
The curatorial team is also responsible for the maintenance and conservation of historic works such as "Portrait of Queen Charlotte", Studio of Allan Ramsay (c. 1760s), and we recently had expertly restored a group of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century portraits by leading portrait painters including Nathaniel Dance (1735-1811). Please click here to find out more.
We care for works which are specifically related to the history of the hospitals, such as the ceramic tile murals by Maw and Company which were part of the original Charing Cross Hospital at Charing Cross, and important set of murals designed by the architect John Weeks for St Mary’s Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother building in 1987.
NB: The Imperial College Healthcare Charity Art Collection is currently working towards Arts Council museum accreditation
Copyright © Robert Clatworthy.
"Horse and Rider" (1983)