Yesterday with the men from Ruitenbeek Transportation I put the statues of Moses and Aaron back in place. The sandstone sculptures had been away for more than half a year; first I cut them loose in January, and then restored them in my workshop, after which they were impregnated to the core with acrylic resin by the Ibach firm in Germany.
Still the same
The statues are still pretty much the same, which perhaps led to some disappointment among visitors. A few people had hoped for a fresh, white, statue that looked almost new, but Udelfanger sandstone is simply no white limestone. In addition, this was a conservative restoration, that was aimed at preserving the original. It was never the intention to make the statues look as good as new again, that would have left their character too much affected. They are more than 150 years old and that should show by the looks of them.
The whole process was a costly affair, but only a fraction of the contract was for my work. Most costs went into the impregnating process. The project was supervised by Restoration Architecture BBM from Raamsdonksveer, a familiar name for restoration of statues and buildings. I was just one of the executing parties for dismantling, restoring and placement.
The acrylic resin-impregnation process with which the statues have been treated has saturated them to their core with acrylic, causing the weathering process to slow down significantly. Probably some algae deposit could still appear on the statues (that even happens with plastic and glass), but the stone itself will not be affected by acid, moisture and frost anymore.
In an article about these sculptures a reader complains about the high costs, and says it also could have been done in the Netherlands as well. Indeed, putting some agent for impregnating facades on them would be a matter of at most a few hundred euros for labor and materials, but that is not the same. I know, apart from the Ibach firm, no other companies that can handle this process in this way.
In the newspaper
And that same afternoon, a few articles in the newspaper arrived: a nice article in the Stadskrant Veghel with a photographic report, and a short piece in the Brabants newspaper with a few bad photos (If you're wondering what on earth I'm doing in the first: I'm looking for a pencil!) and a rather blurry video (bottom of this post). For tenacious people.
Update 9 november 2016:
Mia Rooijmans came along with her camera and made some pictures, and sent them to me via email. They are shown below. Thank you very much, Mia!
Update 10 november 2016:
Church council member/architect Gerard van Asperen sent me two more newspaper articles:
Brabants Dagblad: Moses and Aaron back from journey
Stadskrant Veghel: Moses and Aaron back after 'holiday’