QVM - The missing Orb & Cross
The Nation who either took part in, or watched the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which included the Diamond Jubilee Concert, probably paid more attention to the performers and fireworks than to the stage on which it was centred. The same was probably true of the runners who ran their ‘mile’ for Sport Relief in March. However the ingeniously designed stage carefully surrounded the marble and bronze Queen Victoria Memorial allowing millions to enjoy the back to back entertainment.
Following the success of Stonewest’s project to clean, repair, conserve and re-guild all aspects of the Queen Victoria Memorial last Autumn, The Royal Parks recently asked Stonewest to install a new orb and cross to Queen Victoria’s crown, which had to be completed in time for the Jubilee celebrations.
The orb had been missing for many years and was probably only noticed by those with a keen eye for the Crown Jewels! But it is an important detail that required some research before a new one could be carved.
Stonewest’s Ben Newman (himself a SPAB Fellow) produced a full sized clay macquette for the Clients approval prior to sourcing the statuary grade white marble believed to be from the same Italian quarry as the original statue itself.
The carving itself took around 4 days to complete.
Meanwhile a suitable day was identified for the orb to be installed. Stonewest’s Director of Special Projects, Ian Tolliday, established a military style programme for the day in question with scaffolding being erected and struck on the same day.
With considerable confidence Ben drilled out the original hole in the top of the crown and established the exact angle of the original lost piece. The bronze dowel was set in urethane methacrylate resin and by 15.00hours the Client had approved the work and scaffold was on its way down. The monarch was once again suitably attired!
Stonewest, itself celebrating 60 years trading, is proud to have played a small part in the Queens Diamond Jubilee. In fact, other previous projects on buildings hosting the Queens many events include: The West Front & Steps to St Paul’s Cathedral,Westminster Hall and of course, Buckingham Palace itself.