Oliver Tambo Before Restoration
Oliver Tambo Sculpture Restored

HELPING LOCAL COUNCILS AND CELEBRATING LOCAL HEROES

It was our great honour to help Haringey Council get ready to rename, The Albert Road Recreational Ground, in March 2021.

Statue repair is something we do often at Antique Bronze, but there is a great satisfaction involved in this kind of sculpture conservation work which is part of a bigger civic project. This one was particularly special to our company as the statue stands in a local park around which many of our sculpture conservation team live.

The park was renamed in honour of local hero, Oliver Tambo, who was exiled from South Africa and became a long-term resident of Muswell Hill.

Tambo was president of the African National Congress, and  was close friends with Nelson Mandela. The role he played as the ANC’s figurehead in Europe was vital in publicising the plight of black South Africans and canvassing international support for the fight against the white-minority apartheid government.

The sculpture which is much adored by visitors to the park had lost its scroll, though fortunately it was recovered. The bronze cross which is part of his rosary beads was less fortunate and had been lost or taken.

WHAT SCULPTURE CONSERVATION WORK WAS CARRIED OUT TO THE OLIVER TAMBO STATUE?  

Our team was able to

  • Carefully reshaped the scroll of the Freedom Charter which is held aloft in his hand and had been bent. The scroll had a very specific painted finish, atypical of most bronze sculpture, and we had to be exceptionally careful to ensure we did not damage the surface while reshaping the feature.
  • We researched and located close-up images of the cross. Although the sculpture was only made a few years ago, closer-up images of the cross were hard to locate. We contacted, Her Excellency, Ms Nomatemba Tambo, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland also, Oliver Tambo’s daughter, who was very responsive and helpful in directing us to where source images could be found.
  • The cross was re-sculpted, using the images, in clay, moulds were made so that it could be lost-wax cast in bronze. This cross was of great personal significance to Oliver Tambo.
  • In situ, we brazed the scroll back into position and gave it extra strength by adding a hidden physical fixing to help prevent the scroll being pulled down again.
  • In situ, we refitted the cross to the rosary beads – so that this small but highly significant feature was with him as it always was in life.

We encourage you to take the time to visit, The Oliver Tambo Park, and the sculpture and enjoy this great community space.

You can watch the park renaming ceremony here which was all done virtually due to C19 restrictions.