Art, Conservation

Restoration of the Crucifixion Sculpture

Museum of the Order of St John Isobel MacAuslan, Museum Assistant

As you enter our Cloister Garden, you may have noticed the beautiful sculpture on the Eastern Wall depicting the Crucifixion. The sculpture presents Christ on the cross, surmounted by the Order’s eight-pointed cross on circular base, with angelic figures kneeling either side in prayer.

The sculpture was created by Cecil Thomas (1885 – 1976) in 1960 to honour those who had fallen whilst serving with St John in the First and Second World Wars. Having survived the war, despite receiving serious injuries, Thomas made a living sculpting effigies and memorials. In addition to the sculpture in our Garden, he also made effigies of various public figures which can be seen at locations such as Canterbury Cathedral, Southwark Cathedral and All Hallows-by-the-Tower. Additionally, he was commissioned by the Royal Mint on several occasions to design coins and medals. In 1938 he was made a fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors.

We are closing our garden between Monday 8th and Friday 19th October so that important conservation work can be carried out on the sculpture. As you can see from this photograph, there is a bluish staining on the upper stonework and algae has grown on the sculpture. Not only does the stone require cleaning but there are also several repairs that need to be made to the stonework and the brickwork. Conservation work such as this is vital and ensures that our visitors can continue to enjoy the sculpture, and our beautiful Garden, well into the future.

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