I am a 6th generation stonemason from Scotland with a passion for the preservation of stone sculptures and historic buildings. I grew up near Stirling in the central belt of Scotland, where I was introduced to heritage restoration by my father at our 170-year-old family business – James Innes & Son©. Upon leaving high school, I studied stonemasonry at Edinburgh College for four years, while competing in national trade-skill competitions and completing my professional apprenticeship. Since then, I have studied Conservation of Cultural Heritage at the University of Lincoln, specialising in stone sculpture conservation in my final year and conducting research into 3D technologies applied to sculpture conservation.
Owner: Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust
UL No. 20/001
I am currently working on this Roman/Romanesque marble bust sculpture. It is likely an early example of Roman era (146 BC – 330 AD) portraiture, dated by the style of the Medusa depiction on the figure’s breastplate. However, it is also possible that it is a later Romanesque copy, from up to the 1830’s – when it was brought to Scotland from Italy. The sculpture was brought to the lab headless, detached from its socle (base stone), very dirty and with several inappropriate historic repairs. Firstly, the bust’s condition was thoroughly documented, including a full 3D scan. The scan was then used to virtually reconstruct the object using digital modelling software which helped visualise the repairs needed. Historic repairs, made of strong epoxies and cement mortars, were then removed from the torso and socle stones. The object was then cleaned using pressurised steam, removing vast amounts of ingrained dirt built up over many years. Currently a replacement part is being modelled in clay which will then be copied by carving a block of marble using traditional techniques. Cracks and breakages will be consolidated and the torso will be reattached to the scole and the newly carved replacement part, strengthened by internal structural dowels. Once repaired it will be displayed outdoors at Drummond Castle Gardens in Perthshire.
Foliated Leaf Capital
Owner: Lincoln Cathedral
Ref. No: 77.7m_2
While on placement at Lincoln Cathedral, one of the items allocated to me was this decoratively carved foliated acanthus leaf capital. It is positioned between two lancet arch windows in the North-East transept of the Cathedral and is carved in Lincolnshire limestone. After an earthquake in 1185 this section of the Cathedral was rebuilt between 1192-1210 in Gothic style. Condition examinations found there to be concentrations of cement mortar from previous repairs and black sulphation crust which is caused by sulphurous acid rain. These were reduced using traditional hand tools and a micro-air abrasive machine which sympathetically removes the crusts without damaging the limestone surface. Structural cracks and flaking stone were found in several areas, these were consolidated by injection of quick-lime slurry and the application of a variety of colour matched lime mortars. The ‘abacus’ moulding above is designed to protect the capital however it had worn severely, leaving crevasses/craters, these hold water and allow for prolonged water penetration which accelerates deterioration of stone objects. This was rectified with a mortar repair, and a shelter coat (essentially a lime-wash) which protects the stone beneath by acting as a sacrificial layer. All mortar repairs were shelter coated, and all surrounding loose masonry joints were re-pointed.