By Gill Parker
Leading UK artist in Equestrian & Wildlife sculpture in bronze
Bronze sculpture should be dusted with a soft clean cloth or soft brush (such as a shoe brush, or paint brush). Commercial products should never be used, as chemicals and even water will react with the bronze and damage the patina. The only polish that should be used is a good quality beeswax based polish, with no added chemicals. This can be used very occasionally if wished, but should not be necessary on a bronze positioned inside. Bronzes exposed to the elements, do benefit from an annual wax and polish, and this will help to preserve the patina. The moisture and sun will ultimately result in changes in the patina, without this basic maintenance. I am happy to advise on this.
Bronze can periodically be polished quite vigorously with a clean soft cloth, to achieve a lovely finish, the soft brush (such as a shoe brush or soft toothbrush) being best for textured areas. Care should be taken, however, not to rub the parts of the sculpture, which protrude, such as noses and ears, as in time polishing on these areas will result in the patination wearing to reveal a very shiny area. (Shiny noses are a common but unattractive sight on many old sculptures!) Care should also be taken around any harness or tack, which is probably the most fragile part of a sculpture. This tends to be fabricated out of thin bronze or silver sheet and is therefore quite soft.
On rare occasions the patina on a new bronze will discolour a sort of grey colour, in certain areas. This happens mostly in dark brown or black patinas and has to do with the moisture in the atmosphere. This can be corrected very simply, call for advice.
If damage should occur to your sculpture, it can almost always be repaired. Please contact me for advice at www.gillparker.com
As a general rule the patina of a bronze and the subtle changes which will happen over years, will be part of the ‘history’ of that piece of art. The patina of bronzes as they mature can be an amazing addition and only add to the brilliance of the piece.