Oceanus Fountain

Kykuit, The Rockefeller Estate, Tarrytown, NY

The Oceanus Fountain is situated in the forecourt of the gardens at Kykuit (The Rockefeller Estate), and is modeled on Giambologna’s Oceanus and the Three Rivers in the Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy. The sculptural group depicting Oceanus and three river gods was carved in Italy from white, fine-grained Carrara marble. The gray granite fountain bowl below is supported on a single column with four footbridges over a lower basin approximately 20 feet in diameter.

The sculptures were heavily coated with atmospheric soiling and biogrowth. Minor cracking had developed throughout the marble, as well as around existing patches and through mortar joints. The granite bowl and basin were heavily stained with iron. The fountain required cleaning and stabilization to achieve structural stability and visual clarity while respecting the condition of the historic stone.

We constructed a free-standing scaffold, avoiding contact with the delicate stone, and enabling access to the sculptural group. A nebulized misting spray system was used on each of the figures to soften and remove the soiling and black crusts. With gentle brushing, a dilute biocide, and warm water rinses, this method was very successful in ensuring the marble was substantially clean but did not look “over-cleaned” or “as-new”. Following the cleaning, failed mortar joints and patches were repointed and repaired and the fine cracks were filled with a color-matched grout.