Art Deco Lead Fountain

Punta Gorda, FL

We performed maintenance treatment of this lead fountain figure from the collection of a private owner in Punta Gorda, FL in 2012. The sculpture consists of a mermaid riding astride a sea creature and is part of a larger fountain basin; the basin and fountain display were not treated as part of this scope. Although the date of construction is not known, the figure shows distinct Art Deco styling and was crafted in a white metal that was popular during that period.

As part of the treatment, conservators thoroughly cleaned the figure with general detergents and limited micro-abrasion to reduce surface soiling, corrosion, and metallic staining that was related to deterioration of the iron piping that fed the fountain. Open cracks were carefully peened closed to the greatest extent possible without distressing the original material and sculptural profiles. Remaining cracks were filled with a metal-bulked epoxy, compatible with the lead. Adjacent surfaces were carefully masked to prevent accidental overruns. Once cured, the epoxy repairs were tooled to match the shape of adjacent surfaces. Following repairs, the surface was treated with a dilute patina of oxalic acid in order to restore consistency and evenness to the coloration. Finally, the figure was coated with two applications of wax to protect the surface.