The Covent Garden ‘Group,’ an ensemble of delicate sculptures featuring the goddess Flora, is by the famous sculptor, R.W. Sievier who lived between 1794 and 1865.
It was erected in about 1830 as part of Charles Fowler’s design for the square’s Market Building, and was placed on the east pediment of the central range, above the Opera Terrace and overlooking the Royal Opera House. The Group is made of Coade stone, a fired clay which appears like carved stone, invented by a Mr Coade in 1769 and produced in a factory in north Lambeth.
In early 2017, DBR Conservation was responsible to the conservation of Sievier’s Coade stone sculptures, which were accessible due to ongoing extensive building works. The project included cleaning accumulated pollution and dirt from the fired surface with stiff brushes, and the removal of biological growth with a combination of steam and biocides. The open fractures and the failing repairs were replaced and filled with matching lime mortars. Loose and detached elements, such as the goddess’ arm raising a halo of flowers, was doweled with carbon fibre rods and fixed in place with resin. The final treatment was to protect the surface with a shelter coat that brought out the lovely pinkish hue of the Coade stone.
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