Loss of face
(Bicentenary post on this blog!)
From the garden of Singraven Estate in Denekamp, the Netherlands I received a faun in my studio this week. It was a cheerful fellow with a flute on his belly. Only he had lost the face; apparently something had fallen on top of it, for the whole right side of his face was missing. What was left of it lay neatly packaged in a container next to him on the pallet.
What to do? I was asked that he should be restored to its original state as much as possible. I had been given a new block of sandstone.
But actually this stone is just at the end of its lifetime. It would be best if a copy were made in new stone, and that the old one would be put somewhere indoors where it can survive for centuries. For as a result of how it's presently situated, it's strongly in decline now. The Faun had a deep fissure along the layers of the stone (the deposition direction of the stone) on the backside of his head, and other cracks are beginning to form, and the surface of the stone loses its sharpness and becomes more granular. As always it is a matter of balance between cost, value, historical considerations and emotional value.
In this case I was asked to repair the faun. I glued the pieces back again and remodeled the face with restoration mortar. To imitate the skin of the rest of the stone, I didn't make the features and surface of the repairs too sharp, so that it blends seamlessly into the rest. The tear in the back of his head was carefully opened and filled with a thin liquid mortar for natural stone. After that, the surface of this tear was also remodeled with restoration mortar. Finally the sculpture was cleaned and the repairs were colour-matched.
This was not my first faun for a castle; earlier I restored a complete garden bench with dancing fauns for castle Twickel.