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  1. Aerial View
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  3. Naming Controversy
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  5. Diana Restoration
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  7. Diana on the Move
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  9. Restoration Photo-reports
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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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September 2009

By Pieter Morpurgo

Restoration work is continuing on the stone work. The stone has been cleaned and most of the joints between the stones have been cleared out and re-pointing work has started with a careful mix of Portland stone dust, sand and lime to make the best colour match possible. Many of the joints had been filled over time with a variety of fillers, giving much of it a patch work effect. Many of the stones have to be replaced and stone masons are on site carving the replacement stones.

Carving piece of stone

Re-pointing the stonework
Diana and all the other bronze work – the four boys, the four women or nymphs and the four shells are all in the process of being cleaned. The restorers are using a process called doffing which is high pressure steam which melts all the old wax and reveals the colour of the original bronze underneath.

The shells were thought to be made of stone but they are bronze heavily encrusted with limestone from the continual flow of water over them for 300 hundred years. They weigh between 180 and 190 kilos each, so there is no wonder that some of the stone supporting them has shown some stress fractures.

Lead fish

Bronze shell
They will be all be cleaned and waxed. There was talk of Diana being gilded, but this has now decided against, due to the cost of the work and the extra ongoing cost of the upkeep.

Now that the bronze work has been closely examined it has been discovered that nymphs and boys were made in pairs. The monsters too on which the nymphs stand are also different some have teeth, some don’t.

The boys at the corners of the statue all hold a fish. At some point in time the south east boy has had a replacement fish made of lead. The tail is still bronze, but when this was broken off has not yet been discovered. The boys have been cast in a single piece, a very skilled job for such a complicated shape.

Diana herself was probably made in four or five pieces. She stands 2.38m high or almost 8 feet in old money!

Diana being pressure-washed (1)

Diana being pressure-washed (2)
Two of the nymphs have missing fingers, almost certainly caused by badly placed straps during a lifting process; maybe when the statues were moved from Hampton Court. The interesting thing about this is that there is evidence that they were gilded after the fingers were broken.

Nymph with missing finger

Nymph’s hand with finger missing
No gold leaf has been found, but the process of gilding starts with layers of yellow ochre paint, and it is traces of this which has been found in some of the deep crevices in several of the statues including Diana.

The whole restoration work is due to be finished in November, and once the pond has been weeded the water will be let in and after a year or so to let everything settle down and get rid of any unwanted weed, the fish captured in February will be re-caught and brought back to the Diana Pond.

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Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Thursday, 26th Oct 8:00 pm

The wonders of Fungi – talk by Brian Spooner, former head of Mycology at Kew

Latest report

A perimeter walk of Home Park led by Nicholas Garbutt was enjoyed by over 45 people on 2nd September.Walk in Home Park- 2nd September

Full report...

Information Point

The Information Point next to the Pheasantry Welcome Centre café is where our volunteers help visitors to find out more about the parks and where visitors can purchase souvenirs of your visit to support our work.

Click this panel to visit our Information Point section and also to find out how you can get involved as a volunteer.