Conservation and documentation of the Samuel Smith memorial
In 1909 the then Lord Mayor of Liverpool unveiled a memorial to the life of Samuel Smith in Liverpool's Sefton Park. The memorial is an 18 metre high red granite obelisk with a drinking fountain in the base. On the plinth of the memorial are bronze plaques detailing aspects of Samuel Smith's life as a trader, politician and philanthropist. The four plaques were made in 1909 by the sculptor Charles John Allen.
In 1987 two of the four bronze plaques were stolen. Shortly afterwards the remaining two plaques were removed and put into storage for safe keeping. In 2008 the memorial was restored. The stonework was cleaned and the bronze work conserved and reinstalled. The plaques were brought out of storage and Conservation Technologies was commissioned by Liverpool City Council to undertake conservation work and reconstruction of the missing plaques. Working from archive photographs, Conservation Technologies staff sculpted models of the plaques in clay. The models were then used by Castle Fine Arts Foundry in North Wales to cast the replica bronze plaques.
Conservation Technologies then laser scanned all four plaques using a Konica Minolta Range 7 laser scanning system to provide highly accurate 3D records of each one. This will allow straightforward reproduction of any missing or damaged pieces in the future, should this become necessary, without the need to first produce models in clay by hand. Once fully documented in 3D, the plaques were reinstalled on the monument by Conservation Technologies in autumn 2008.
Have a look at images of the conservation work and laser scanning in the image gallery above.
More photographs of the replica clay plaques being sculpted for this memorial and the memorial to William Rathbone can be seen in the Conservation of Sefton Park monuments set on Flickr. You can follow their progress in the following blog posts: