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Portland Statue Restored, Protected

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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A 125-year-old piece of public art in Portland, ME, has gotten a restoration and a new layer of protective coating, to the tune of $10,000.

The statue, called “Our Lady of Victories (The Portland Soldiers and Sailors Monument),” was restored as part of a larger project in which the city of Portland is working with conservation expert Jonathan Taggart to freshen up a number of public art works in the city.

1891 Work of Art

The bronze statue, on a granite base in the city’s Monument Square, was created by Franklin Simmons and Richard Morris Hunt, and dedicated in 1891 as a tribute to soldiers lost in the Civil War. It comprises the 14-foot-tall female “victory” figure, along with a number of smaller flag and soldier sculptures.

As part of the restoration, Taggart and his staff pressure-washed the statue and re-applied a resin protective coating to guard against corrosion. The protective resin has been applied three times since 1997, according to the Portland Press Herald, but prior to that—over a century after the statue first went up—there was no coating applied at all.

Coating Failure

Areas on the upper parts of the statue had begun to show a blue-gray patina, in contrast with the rest of the figure, the newspaper reports. That came as a result of the most recent coating, applied 12 years ago, beginning to fail.

"Water runs down in the same place every time," Taggert told WCSH-TV. "With the protective coating on there, you'll no longer get the corrosion that's happening as the acid rain and water runs down that surface."

Taggart also addressed failing mortar joints and graffiti.

According to WCSH, Taggart has recommended the statue be cleaned and recoated every five years; previously, it had been subject to recoating about once a decade.

Taggart, who owns Taggart Objects Conservation, of Georgetown, ME, has done restoration work on other monuments, including the Iowa Soldiers and Sailors Monument, in Des Moines.


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Coating Application; Corrosion protection; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Historic Preservation; Latin America; Monuments; North America; Restoration

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/19/2016, 8:20 AM)

There needs to be a better solution for protecting bronze outdoors. Current products only last a few years at most, the common practice of waxing is more like 1 year.

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