The intricate carved stone figures of Hindu gods are from the Indian Pala period (8 – 12 c) and are probably 12c. They are made from a very dense, hard, dark grey stone, with very fine carved detail.
The building in Southhall dates back to the 15th century and the two Pala figures were installed in the late 17th century. The house underwent many changes of use before becoming the Chamber of Commerce in the 1960s. The two figures remained in the wall, but now overlooked the car park, where they were discovered and venerated by the local Hindu community, but a survey by the V&A Museum recommended that the figures be removed and relocated to a safer environment.
In order to discover how the figures were fixed into the wall, it was necessary to carefully remove the brickwork from behind the figures, which also revealed the fourth faces of the gods, buried in the mortar and brickwork. With the figures safely removed, the wall had to be partially rebuilt quickly, in order to preserve security in the building.
There were many layers of paint on the surface of the carving. Paint samples were taken which showed that all the paint dated from about the time the house was taken over as offices, and none was found that might have dated from before they were brought back to England The paint was removed, moulds were taken and replicas produced in Jesmonite, coloured to replicate the stone. The replicas have now replaced the originals in the wall of the building and the originals are on display in secure cases inside the building.