Hall Conservation Ltd

  • The Trophy Gates Unicorn

  • Typical feminine features indicates that the artist was Grinling Gibbons

  • Installed armature

  • Fill repair

Project Information

The trophy gates group of sculpture, a lion and a unicorn, each holding and armourial cartouche, are contemporary with Sir Christopher Wrens remodelling of the palace. They were erected in July and November of 1701, designed by Grinling Gibbons, then cast and embossed by John Oliver, a Master Mason who received £245.00 for his work.

By the 1980s they were in a state of collapse, crushing the cartouches and at risk of toppling into the gateway. Andrew Naylor, Janet Naylor and Brian Hall returned them to their original form, installed new stainless steel armatures and made them structurally stable.

During repair works to the trophy gate piers in 2008 the unicorn had to be removed from its pier and this was an ideal opportunity to carry out a condition survey to assess the the 1980s treatment and the condition of the sculpture. Overall the sculpture was found to be in excellent condition, but Hall Conservation Ltd advised that a programme of regular basic maintenance be initiated. The advice was accepted and all the lead sculptures at Hampton Court Palace are routinely washed and re-waxed on an annual basis.