THE STATUES in the water garden at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, near Ripon in North Yorkshire, are being restored to their original colour
Research shows that these works were an off-white colour when they were installed in the 18th century.
Now they are being restored as part of a three-year project. A spokesman for the National Trust, which runs the tourism attraction, said: “We’ll be re-painting the lead statues, re-instating planters, creating new benches based on those illustrated in 18th century paintings and continuing our work restoring the yew ‘bosquet’ hedges which have grown and lost their original shape.”
The water garden, designed by John Aislabie, has clipped yew hedges, classical statues, geometric shapes and reflective ponds making Studley Royal an outstanding example of the ‘English’ garden style that swept across Europe during the 18th century.
When the National Trust purchased the Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal estate in the early 1980s, one of the first projects was to work on the temples, statues, water features and lawns around the moon ponds. This helped to achieve the Unesco designation of World Heritage Site.
Restoration of the statues also took place in the 1980s. Some of the techniques caused damage to the surface of the statues and removed all traces of the original paint.
It will take the team of four conservators about five days to complete. They have relied upon research and evidence at similar gardens to identify the correct colour. The work is being completed by Rupert Harris, Metalwork, conservation advisor to the National Trust.