Stone Sculpture Studio
From monumental gateway buildings to small museum pieces: our team gives each stone sculpture the customised study and treatment it deserves. Our team leads research on materials and techniques, conducts pilot restorations and carries out conservation-restoration projects.
The experts of the Stone Sculpture Studio focus on studies and treatments of sculptures in 'stone'. Think of natural stones such as alabaster, marble, limestone and sandstone, stony materials such as terracotta, plaster and various types of mortar.
The conservation studio has many years of experience in dealing with all kinds of stone sculptures:
- of movable and non-movable heritage
- indoors and outdoors
- small museum pieces, individual sculptures and monumental ensembles.
Who can contact us?
We work closely with museums, church councils, architects and local authorities across Belgium. Our mission? The study and conservation-restoration of works of art of exceptional value or significant scientific research interest.
Materials engineering study
Our experts identify the materials of the sculpture or ensemble, as well as the techniques used. This includes both original elements and elements added later.
Sometimes a polychromy study is involved, including the study of the finishing layers. This consists of:
- a stratigraphical investigation
- an interpretation of the lab analyses
- a digital reconstruction of the original painting.
Materials engineering studies provide information about the geographical distribution of materials and historical manufacturing techniques. They are also a valuable complement to art history research as they provide information about an item's authenticity and connect it to an artist or a school.
The study of larger ensembles is done on-site. The goal? To gather knowledge about the entire work in order to develop a detailed, customised treatment proposal. The client can then base the specifications on the outcome of the study. Typically, this includes:
- (art) historical research
- a material-technical study
- a polychromy study (if applicable)
- a survey of the state of conservation
- carrying out treatment tests
- the performance of treatment tests
- the execution of a pilot restoration, in which the complete treatment is tested on a representative surface. It serves as a reference for the restoration.
The experience gained during the preliminary study can also be used for the follow-up of the restoration. If necessary, this can then be carried out by other qualified conservators-restorers.
Our job as a restorer comes with several privileges. The most exceptional, hidden treasures of our heritage pass through our hands, we gain access to unique locations, and we can shed light on new aspects within our field of work.
Conservation and restoration treatment
The team of the Stone Sculpture Studio takes great care to restore and preserve each piece according to the rules (ICOM code of ethics for museums, E.C.C.O. Professional Guidelines). Each treatment is, therefore, preceded by extensive study and documentation. In addition to a material study, the damage mechanisms of the work of art are mapped out. This knowledge enables us to conserve and restore the work of art in the best possible way and to pass it on to future generations.
Learn, share and teach
We are constantly learning through workshops and colloquia both at home and abroad in order to keep abreast of the latest developments in our field. We like to share our professional knowledge via:
- research publications, including the series published by the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage
- advice to fellow restorers.
We regularly offer internships to students from home and abroad who are following or have recently completed a recognised conservation course to gain practical experience. With our professional guidance, they learn how to respond proactively and inventively to problems in restoration practice.
Interdisciplinary research projects
Many projects require a bundling of expertise. We therefore work closely with our colleagues in the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage: the art historians and photographers, the Monuments and Monument Decoration Lab, the Polychrome Artefacts Lab and the other conservation studios of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage. In addition, external researchers also contribute to the project.