Winged Victory

PROJECT DATE : 2008 - 2019
project
Winged Victory
client
Marrickville Council / Australian War Memorial
services
Object Conservation

AWARD WINNING
Heritage Awards 2015
Conservation Objects and Interior: Winner 

Overview

Gilbert Doble’s (1880-1945) Winged Victory is a sculpture of Nike, the winged goddess of victory. Holding out a crown of laurel leaves in one hand and a drawn sword in the other, it was created for the top of the Marrickville Soldiers’ Memorial, which was unveiled in 1919 in honour of 458 local soldiers who had died during the First World War.

ICS has been involved with assessing the condition of the sculpture since 2008. When it became clear that it could no longer withstand the rigours of outdoor display, ICS worked with Marrickville Council to develop a brief for its replacement.

Condition

The hollow sculpture was formed from thin copper alloy sheeting, and as a result, soon became quite unstable. By 1962 its condition had deteriorated so badly that it had to be taken down. Although it was restored and returned to the Memorial in 1988, continued instability saw it removed a second time in 2008. Eventually, in 2013 Marrickville Council commissioned a new sculpture for the Memorial and endorsed the transfer of Doble’s original to the Australian War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra.

Treatment

ICS conserved the original components of the sculpture on behalf of the AWM after it passed into their ownership. This involved very carefully separating the original upper half from later restorations, painstaking repairs to make it stable, and time-consuming removal of overpaint to reveal its original patina. We then oversaw its transfer to Canberra, where it has now become the focal point of the AWM’s new First World War Galleries.

New Sculpture

The new sculpture – created by artists Peter Corlett and Darien Pullen – was unveiled in April 2015. It pays homage to Doble’s original but with some subtle changes. In particular, the position of the sword was changed from being raised in triumph to pointing down to earth. This has stopped it from acting as a lightning rod, which we discovered was a significant cause of the damage that had afflicted the original. So Doble’s legacy lives on; in the original at the AWM and reinterpreted for a new generation in its original location – and the citizens of Marrickville once again have a focal point to honour their local war heroes.

More information

project
Winged Victory
client
Marrickville Council / Australian War Memorial
services
Object Conservation
Original sculpture, before treatment
Original sculpture, restored an on display at the AWM

More Projects Like This One

Still Life - Gerrett Willemsz Heda

 Overview ICS won the 2022 NSW National Trust “Conservation – Interiors and Objects” Award for this project, with its submission titled “The Discovery of an Old Master Panel Painting Masquerading as a 19th Century Copy”.  The discovery of this artwork made headlines around the world. The still life painting originally belonged to the National Trust’s Woodford Academy collection. Its provenance...

Central Station Melocco Room

A fire at Sydney’s Central Station was the impetus for the restoration and conservation of this marvellous mid-century Melocco Brothers artwork. The impressive wrap-around wall relief depicts the history of transportation above travertine walling and a beautiful terrazzo floor map...

Birdwood Flag

Sydney Harbour Bridge Cranes