The conservators of Hall Conservation Ltd have developed a good working relationship with Antony Gormley over the last decade, and it is our practice, when his sculptures have suffered damage, to discuss the restoration options with him and agree the most appropriate treatments. In this case, the figure had been a target for concerted vandalism, paint, ink and scratched graffiti. At some point it had been prized completely off the granite bolder, suffering a deep dent at the shoulder blade when it fell. Also, in a misguided attempt to remove graffiti, the entire sculpture had been sandblasted, which had removed the rich, warm brown patina from the bronze, leaving the surface pale brown with a matte finish that provided an ideal key for the painted graffiti. There were deep dents and scarring across much of the surface of the figure, the nose being particularly disfigured and the granite bolder had extensive painted and ink graffiti. It was decided that only the most visually intrusive damage, the nose and the largest dents would be repaired, the graffiti removed, the bronze re-coloured, but most of the scarring should be left.
In this case, the dented section of the shoulder was cut out as both an access panel and so that it could be reshaped at the bench before Tig welding it back into position. Other dents and the nose were built up using weld before fettling back to the correct profile. The sculpture was then re-coloured using a mixture of patinating chemicals and coloured waxes in-order to restore the patina, the granite boulder was steam cleaned and the bronze figure reinstated.