San Marino, Los Angeles County,
During our recent work at the Huntington Gallery and Museum, we were engaged in the restoration of the entire cast stone and limestone facade. We were also busy with the restoration of the two limestone sculptures flanking the entrance on the north side of the building.
Two of a number of limestone sculpted figures on the grounds, these flanking carved stone statues had undergone significant decay due to the natural tendency of the limestone to degrade over time
Well-meaning but inappropriate repairs to fill in lost material were executed in grey Portland cement-based repair compounds, much harder than the host substrate stone.
Over the years this cementitious coating had failed as well, exposing the original limestone to yet more mechanisms of decay.
As the old cementitious coating degraded and failed, it exposed the original limestone, which accelerated this process of decay and failing.
This image shows a typical steel anchor removed during our restoration efforts. These anchors were intended to provide a more stable attachment to the original limestone, similar to the anchor holes previously uncovered.
Evidence of these previously installed anchors holes was most evident in the second figure.
After all the old cementitious coatings were carefully removed, the laborious process of patching and repairing the previous repairs was begun.
Here the image shows a typical area of the statues prior to our commencement of work. Note the extensive application of Portland cement (gray) mortar to the original limestone surface.
Here the same area has been fully prepared - removal of old cementitious skin, old cement patch areas, and exposure of old anchor holes. Basically, the contemporary sculpture has been relieved of all previous repair materials.
Here is the same area after repairs
Here we have a fully restored area on the head of one of the figures. Note the patched areas where old cement has been removed, and the uniform appearance of the overall surface due to the color-matched rendering applied as a next-to-last step. Application of a water-repellent sealer was the final step in the restoration process.
Before and After of the same figure