Romanesque Fountain Conservation—Biltmore Estate

Asheville, NC

As part of our on-going work with Biltmore Estate, we were contracted to conserve the marble Romanesque fountain located at the entrance to the mansion. The marble fountain is constructed of a carved basin of Rosso di Verona marble, a variegated pink marble, a pedestal base of green marble, and a limestone splash basin. The carvings depict the likenesses of lions and serpents. Water flows over the lip of the basin and runs through the time-worn surfaces between the animals and into the limestone splash basin.

Our conservators worked with the Biltmore Estate’s conservation staff to clean and restore the fountain. The focus of the treatment was to remove surface soiling, biological growths and staining, reverse and remove failed previous fills, and repair a large loss to the lip of the pink marble basin which caused the water to flow preferentially over the back side of the basin.

All surfaces were cleaned using appropriate detergents and biocides. Biological growths were further removed by careful picking with wooden skewers. The lip was repaired using a custom colored mortar. The extensive iron staining on the green marble pedestal was removed with multiple applications of poultice. Maintenance recommendations were provided along with training for Biltmore staff in the procedure to regularly treat the basin with a biocide to reduce the recurrence of biological growth.