What has been going on outside Kensington Palace?
We have cleaned and conserved the statue of William of Orange that stands outside the east front of the palace. Like many London statues, William had been regularly coated with a heavy black wax to protect the surface. Over time, this had trapped environmental dirt and grime which masked the detail of the bronze. The wax had broken down in places, accelerating the corrosion of the exposed areas which were green in colour. This gave William a rather mottled appearance.
How did we do it?
The statue was completely enclosed with a sheeted scaffold and conservators cleaned the entire surface by hand to remove the remaining wax. We discovered that it had previously been blasted with an abrasive, which meant that although we expected the surface to be completely green, it was in fact only green where the wax had been lost. In the same way that you would wax your car after you have washed it, the surface of the statue was protected and enhanced with a new coating of tinted wax, to harmonise the variations in colour across the surface. This conservation work has revealed the astonishing detail of the original craftsmanship so that we can all now appreciate this beautiful bronze. A fitting 100th birthday present for King William.