Maritima are among the leading experts in the conservation and restoration of figureheads.
To Conserve or Restore. is the question so often posed and debated.
The conservation of a figurehead requires the minimum of intervention, conserving what remains, rather than restoring missing or badly damaged parts. The dividing line between the two often becomes blurred. Particularly with items such as figureheads, which are often not kept in closely monitored museum conditions. Reason needs to operate when considering which path to follow.
Having restored many figureheads for collectors and museums, I have gained a good insight as to how they were constructed, and can therefore be sympathetically taken apart, with a good idea of what rot and failures lurk within.
Many figures require the renewal of an inner core to make them structurally sound. This can be done by traditional carving methods, combined with consolidating materials to save as much of the original figure as possible.
By using the same tools (often of the same age) as those used originally, and with a knowledge of how such glorious shapes were formed, missing sections of carving can be re-created.
Here are some of the figureheads that have been conserved / restored, illustrating some of the problems encountered. In taking on a new commission, I can generally give a reasonably accurate indication as to what work will be required and the cost involved.