Technique and condition

The sculpture, carved from a monolith of English alabaster stands on its own integral base. The block of alabaster ranges in colour from milky white, through pink to brown, with areas of differing transparency and opacity. Weighing over two and a half tonnes, the sculpture was created using a variety of carving tools to produce rough and smooth textures. The bodies of the figures have a smooth surface with vertical lines incised into the wings, contrasting with a coarse-textured chiselled-tooled finish in the crevices and undercuts.

There is a natural fault line in the stone from Jacob’s left wrist down through to the palm of his hand and across his little finger. Previous breaks to the base and wing had been repaired prior to acquisition. The surface of the sculpture was cleaned in 2000, restoring the ‘soapy’ translucency indicative of alabaster. The old breaks have been refilled using a more visually sympathetic fill material and the surface has a soft matt sheen as opposed to the pre-restoration polished gloss.

Bryony Bery
April 2004