Matthew Flinders Statue

PROJECT DATE : 2017
project
Matthew Flinders Statue
client
State Library of NSW
services
Sculpture Conservation, Object Conservation, Memorials

Overview

Matthew Flinders (1774-1814) was one of the most talented navigators and chart-makers of his day. A captain in the Royal Navy, in 1798 he sailed from Sydney and circumnavigated Van Diemens Land (Tasmania), proving that it was an island. From 1801 to 1803 he circumnavigated mainland Australia, charting the coastline as he went. In 1925 a statue was erected in his honour outside the State Library of NSW in Sydney.

The statue of Flinders is made of bronze and stands upon a square trachyte pedestal and stepped podium. Behind it – on a window sill of the State Library building – is a small bronze sculpture of a cat. Often overlooked by passers-by, this small statue is in memory of Trim, Flinders’ beloved ship’s cat, who accompanied him on several of his voyages.

ICS was commissioned by the State Library of NSW to carry out conservation works to both the Matthew Flinders and Trim statues.

Condition

Although in relatively good condition, constant exposure to the elements meant that the protective wax coating on each statue was deteriorating, and there was a build-up of bird droppings and other dirt/debris.

Treatment

  • Washing statue and stone plinth using controlled high-pressure hose
  • Mechanically removing active corrosion using timber skewers and scalpel blades
  • Applying wax with a soft brush to slow any corrosion and minimise further degradation
  • Filling casting flaws and previous repairs to improve water resistance
  • Buffing entire figure with stiff bristled nylon brushes
  • Cleaning and waxing all plaques and the cat statue, then buffing using stiff bristled nylon brushes

project
Matthew Flinders Statue
client
State Library of NSW
services
Sculpture Conservation, Object Conservation, Memorials
During Treatment
After Treatment

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