The Portland limestone Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner is one of Britain’s great public monuments and it considered by many to be a masterpiece of 20th century sculpture.
Designed by sculptor Charles Sargeant Jagger working with the architect Lionel Pearson, it is dedicated to the 49,076 men of the Royal Regiment of Artillery who died in the First World War. The work is comprised of an enormous cannon on a large plinth, clad in carved scenes of battle. Around its pedestal stand three large bronze statues of gunners while a fourth lies dead under his coat. It offers an uncompromising and unsentimental depiction of the battlefield, in stark contrast to the other allegorical public memorials of the time.
DBR London has carried out comprehensive conservation programmes to the memorial including steam cleaning, masonry indenting, consolidation work, repointing and localised mortar repairs of the carved frieze. A breathable water repellent was trialed on the sky facing surfaces to discourage the propagation of biological growth which was causing visual disfigurement to the Portland stone. The plinth paving was also lifted and relaid to provide more effective rainwater run off.
Today, DBR maintains Jagger’s memorial with a regular programme of inspections, dry cleaning the stone elements, and rewaxing the bronze figures.
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