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Fine Art Restoration/Conserving a bronze sculpture

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A.C.Ladd bronze
A.C.Ladd bronze  
Greetings, Paul:

We recently bought a 9" tall bronze sculpture marked "A.C.Ladd" and "Ideal Casting Company, Providence, R.I." from an dealer's warehouse in Santa Barbara, California. We believe the sculpture to be the work of Anna Coleman Ladd (b. 1878) who died in Santa Barbara in 1939. The statue has a bluish patina {image attached) and we'd like to know if we should leave it as is or if it should or could be cleaned.  

Thank you for your willingness to answer questions such as these, and for the gift of your expertise.

Larry Haeg
Saint Paul, Minnesota

Answer
Hi Larry,

From the photo, the sculpture and surface appears to be in excellent condition.  It looks to me as an intentionally applied artificial patina, and not oxidation or corrosion from poor handling and exposure to acids, as is seen on outdoor pieces.  I'm assuming that this is an indoor display piece and was never outdoors.  I see no reason to remove the current surface treatment.  It may warrant a good dusting with a lint free cloth and the application of a high quality paste wax, such as Renaissance or Johnsons carnauba blend wood floor wax, but nothing else.
If you disagree with that because you're seeing an uneven surface in places, then I'd need to see more photos of those areas, both details and overalls, with good color rendering and lighting, and good focus, and I'd be happy to reassess the condition.  Otherwise, it looks like you have a great, stable object.

Thanks,
Paul Storch
Objects Conservator
St. Paul, MN

Fine Art Restoration

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Paul S. Storch

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions concerning the preservation and conservation of three-dimensional archaeological, ethnographic, historic, technological, and decorative arts objects. My materials expertise includes leather, wood, metals, and composite materials.

Experience

I have close to thirty years experience as a conservator at three different museums and in private practice. I currently work as a collections manager overseeing 40,000 historic objects at over 20 sites around the state, as well as having a private treatment and consultation practice in the Midwest.

Organizations
American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works Minnesota Association of Museums The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections Professional Picture Framers Association

Publications
Journal of the American Institute For Conservation Texas Archaeology University of Texas Conservation Notes Caring for American Indian Objects/Minnesota Historical Society Press The Interpreter/Minnesota Historical Society Journal of Field Archaeology

Education/Credentials
B.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology; M.A. in Anthropology/Museum Studies with a concentration in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation.

Awards and Honors
Recognition certificate from the Institute of Museum Services

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