Our studio’s work includes the restoration and conservation of bronze, copper, stone, plaster, wood, terracotta and resin sculpture and architectural elements. We have conserved antique sculpture and monuments including the sculptural elements of the Old State House in Boston, the antique plaster cast collection at Yale University, and the Sunken Garden Fountains at the Elms in Newport for which we were awarded the Laurel Award.
Some other projects we have completed can be seen at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Boston Public Library; the Slater Museum, Connecticut; as well as many National Park Service sites. Our conservation work is sometimes combined with making replications of missing fragments of sculpture or complete pieces. Sometimes it is also the intent of the institution or owner to conserve the original for indoor display and place a replica outdoors. At other times our expertise in modeling, moldmaking and casting is used to create replications. The scope of our work ranges from small objects owned by private clients to large institutional collections. Our studio’s extensive experience with traditional methods, as well as our utilization of newer materials, has enabled us to excel in the field of conservation.
Our process includes a report outlining the existing conditions of the object or sculpture. Both structural and surface conditions are noted in detail supplemented with photo references. We then draft a proposed treatment report which addresses critical details such as reversibility (more on this below), choice of materials and methods, options for treatment, the schedule, and costs. After acceptance of the proposed treatment, we proceed with the conservation and/or restoration work and document it as we progress. When our work is completed, a final treatment report is submitted. Other concerns we may address are future maintenance, mounting, and ongoing surveillance of fragile objects.
Regarding reversibility in restoration, we believe in most cases that as much of the original sculpture should be left intact. By maintaining the aesthetic condition and the object’s visual history, completed reversible treatments will potentially not change nor lessen the value of the piece. With this in mind, we may keep the antique patina of the sculpture or plaster cast intact, and if there are areas of damaged patina or areas where we have performed structural restorations that require repatination, we will repatinate those areas to match the original surrounding tones. At other times, the patinas on the sculptures or plaster casts may be severely damaged throughout the entire surface. In these cases, it is often necessary to completely strip the patina and then repatinate the entire piece in order to make it aesthetically acceptable. If this is the case, we try to reflect in the new finish what the original intent or appearance of the piece would have been. Ultimately, we think every object needs its own unique evaluation of proposed treatment.
Adams Memorial, Plaster Cast Restoration
In 2009 Skylight Studios, Inc. in conjunction with the National Park Service, restored the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site archival plaster of the Adams Memorial. The conservation treatment by Skylight Studios, Inc. was in preparation for an exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum. A reversible mechanical attachment system to the internal armature, removal of loose surface dirt, consolidation of all break edges, chips/losses and reconstruction of larger losses, etc. was completed.
St John’s Church, Worcester, MA
The altar at St John’s Church in Worcester, MA was missing several major sculptural elements that had existed in the church’s past. Using only historic black and white photos Skylight Studios was able to restore the altar to its original beauty. By re-sculpting the statues of St Joseph and Mary, as well as the lambs, scroll and domes, it now looks as it once did almost 100 years ago.
Some conservation projects completed by Robert Shure & Skylight Studios, Inc. include:
- Bronze sculptures at Johnson Park, Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey
- Antique Plaster Cast Collection at Randolph Building, Yale University, Connecticut
- The Firemen’s Memorial at Forest Hills Cemetery, Boston, MA
- Ornamental entryway at Biological Laboratories, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
- Replication of Stela C Monument at Peabody Harvard Museum, Cambridge, MA
- Rex Jambrinus sculpture at Duxbury, MA
- Katherine Lane Weems estate of sculptures (over 200 bronze & plaster objects.)
- Antique plaster cast collection at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
- Lion sculptures at the Gateway to Tanglewood Music Center
- Hercules at Rest sculpture at Anderson House, Society of Cincinnati, Washington, DC
- Salem Custom House Eagle at Salem, MA
- Bronze Soldiers & Sailors Monument at Stetson Hall, Randolph, MA
- “The Pagan” sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
- Madonna carving, Madonna Queen National Shrine, Boston, MA
- Our Lady of Good Voyage sculpture at Gloucester, MA
- “Rampant Colt” sculpture for dome of the Colt Building, Hartford, Connecticut
- Lincoln Monument at Lincoln Park, Lowell, MA
- Replication of Bacchante & Infant Faun by MacMonnies at the Boston Public Library
- Marble Crucifixion Sculpture at St. Ann Parish, Somerville, MA
- Jesus & Mary statues at St. Ann Parish, Somerville, MA
- Restoration of Historic Altar & Stations of the Cross at St. John’s, Worcester, MA
- Busts at Castle Hill, Crane Estate, Ipswich, MA
- Cardinal O’Connell Monument at Lowell, MA
- Faneuil Hall Grasshopper re-gilding, at Faneuil Hall, Boston, MA