Osborne House, East Cowes, Isle of Wight. Scientific Examination of the Terrace Statues

Author(s): Sarah Paynter, David Dungworth

A survey of selected metal statues was carried out to determine the nature of the metal, as well as any coatings applied to them in the past or more recently, to inform future conservation work. Portable XRF (X-ray fluorescence) was used to confirm the existing identifications of zinc and ‘bronze’ metals given in the curatorial report (Hunter 2015). Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, but the term is often used more broadly when referring to decorative metalwork or art, encompassing a range of copper alloys. Documentary accounts describe how the zinc statues were originally plated with a copper alloy (Hunter 2015), a process repeated in 1860, some of which still survived at the time they were conserved in 1991. The zinc statues were also coated in a protective coating in 1991, which gave the otherwise grey metal a ‘bronze’ appearance. This coating is now cracking and is lifting in places, exposing grey metal beneath. Two fragments of failed protective coating were characterised using a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM).

Report Number:
20/2017
Series:
Research Report
Pages:
20
Keywords:
Metal Working-non Fe Modern Technology

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