Polishing off Pomona

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Conservator with a marble sculpture

Head of sculpture conservation Sam Sportun gives Pomona a quick clean

Most people decorate their garden with a nice pot from the garden centre, or maybe an ornamental bird bath or fountain. The gardens at Het Loo Palace in the Netherlands are pretty spectacular however, so they have commissioned a specially made replica marble sculpture from conservation technologies at the National Conservation Centre to grace their lawn.

The replica is a life sized copy of a 17th century marble statue of the goddess Pomona, part of the Royal Collection, that's on display in the Orangery of Kensington Palace, London.

The original statue was laser scanned to produce an accurate 3D computer model. As it is such a large sculpture it had to be divided into 8 pieces that were machined separately out of Carrara marble. These were then carefully assembled, rather like a huge 3D jigsaw puzzle that weighs around 400 kg. The joins are cleverly hidden in the sculpture, so you would think it was carved from a solid piece of marble.

You can see a Flickr slideshow of photos of Pomona being carefully packed into a crate ready for the trip to the Netherlands. 

Update: see pictures documenting the replication of Pomona and read more about the process in a new case study on the National Conservation Centre website.