Marble Bust of Homer
Structurally, the bust was in good condition although it was very dirty. Several chips and pits were present, which were ingrained with dirt. The bottom edge of the robe was particularly worn and a small split/crack was present to the second fold from the neck on the proper left hand side of the robe. Additionally, pencil graffiti was present to: the head, eyes, nose, below the mouth, beard, the upper chest, a lower left hand section of the robe, the back of the robe and the column attaching the bust to the socle.
The Bust & Socle: Firstly, surface dirt was loosened with a weak solution of a non-ionic detergent in deionised water, applied by stencil brush. Then, the surface was swab cleaned with deionised water only, followed by steam cleaning with the controlled use of a Derotor Steam Cleaner GV.
Bonding of the Socle: The socle was firstly secured to the top of the new display plinth using three bespoke stainless steel brackets, which had been lined with a thin interfacing layer of Plastazote .A protective layer of a 10% solution of an acrylic resin in acetone was painted on to the surface of the embedded pin of the socle. Then, a bond mixture of fine casting plaster and a diluted adhesive was applied to the top surface of the socle. This mix was positioned to line-up with the position of the brackets; knowing the location of the bond mixture will facilitate reversal if the bust ever needs to be dismantled. The bond mixture was also applied to the pin of the socle. Care was taken to apply just enough of this mixture to secure the bust in place without causing any excess at its join line to the socle.
When the bust was in place it was clear to see how well this sculpture had been executed; weight distribution of the bust and the angle/position of the pin enabled optimum alignment and anchorage between the two elements. The support brackets were retouched with acrylic paints; cream where they met the bust and blue where they met the top of the plinth.