Explore / Articles

 

Repairing a terracotta portrait of Oliver Cromwell by Louis-François Roubiliac

This bust of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) by Louis-François Roubiliac (1702-1762) was recently found damaged. A section of Cromwell's collar had broken off and was missing. On careful examination, British Museum conservators discovered that a substantial part of the right-hand collar was not original. This restoration, made of a plaster-like material, was crude in appearance and had been extensively over-painted. Museum documentation indicated that this restoration had been made sometime before 1928.

The missing area of the collar was remodelled with an epoxy putty, adhered into position using a reversible adhesive, and finally painted with acrylic paint to blend in with the rest of the bust. The left-hand collar and old photographs of the figure helped to serve as guides.