Australian Embassy; Statue conservation and stone repairs

Inspire Conservation have just completed unique statue conservation and stone masonry restoration repairs to the Australian Embassy in London.  Our specialist services in statue conservation were employed following the stone façade cleaning earlier in the month.

Victoria House was built in 1907 on the corner of an island site with the Strand, Aldwych and Melbourne place as the boundary.  It was designed by Scottish architects A Marshall Mackenzie & Sons and built by Dove Brothers of Islington.  The building is grade II listed in Portland limestone construction, stone colonnades and mansard roof.  The entrance is dominated by double life size figures portraying the industries and prosperity of Australia.  These include stone statues of male and female figures of explorers and various Australian trades and a bronze statue of Apollo and the horses of the sun at higher level.  Statue conservation was required for the bronze collection on the upper most section of the building.  The building was accessed by mobile elevation working platforms making the cleaning of the statues a challenge given the size of the figures.

The statues were cleaned with soft brushes and ammonia bi-carbonate solutions to remove the extraneous dirt and then waxed with a microcrystalline wax in several applications.  The statue conservation was successful and the difference is quite clear in the photographs below.  This was a unique experience and project to conserve these items as it will probably be another 100 years till the next treatment.

The façade was repointed and some capping repairs to failed ashlars.  There were several stone units replaced by our stone masons in Portland limestone at ground level to match existing.  The ‘Australia House’ sign was gilded.


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