Pan of Rohallion Sculpture

Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress, Washington, DC

The Architect of the Capitol requested conservation of the Pan of Rohallion, a bronze sculpture and fountain with copper plumbing by Frederick MacMonnies located at the Thomas Jefferson Building, Library of Congress. Surveyed in 2012, the sculpture was in fair to poor condition exhibiting signs of coating loss, heavy corrosion, hard water mineral deposits, cracking, and previous solder repairs. After de-installation in November 2014, the statue was securely transported back to our conservation studio in Maryland, for treatment.

Treatment began by first cleaning the sculpture with a combination of detergent, abrasive pads, and detail brushes. An initial cleaning revealed more troublesome areas that needed to undergo micro-abrasion and laser cleaning trials. Laser cleaning and micro-abrasive cleaning left the sculpture with a satisfactory surface that could then receive a patination. Patination was carried out with the use of hand-held torches and chemicals, and the surface was thereafter wiped clean of any residual surface chemicals. Repairs, such as crack and patch fills, were carried out utilizing Devcon Bronze Putty 10260, and then in-painted with thinned acrylic and fine artist brushes. After a hot wax and cold paste wax treatment, we replaced the plumbing in-kind and reinstalled the sculpture on site at the Library of Congress Whittall Courtyard.