Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99
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Repairing a terracotta statue of a woman
This terracotta statue of a woman was wanted for a British Museum exhibition on Mesopotamia. However, the figure was missing her nose. The curator, perhaps feeling that the statue could not be fully appreciated without this facial feature, asked the Museum's Department of Conservation to model a nose for the figure. This was a simple enough task, but what did the original nose look like? The curator sent along images of a similar statue for conservators to copy. It was felt that the nose was probably comparable in appearance to the missing nose of this smaller statue.
Once the shape had been agreed, a conservator set about modelling the nose in plasticine. When the correct shape was achieved, a mould of latex rubber was made of the plasticine nose. This rubber mould was cast with plaster of Paris. The plaster nose was fitted into position on the face of the damaged statue with a reversible adhesive. The nose was painted with acrylic paint in a slightly darker colour so that visitors could easily see that it was a later addition and not a part of the original statue.