This week the team from Coventry Scaffolding have moved onto zone 2 of the scaffolding in Room 46A, having taken only four weeks to remove the scaffolding from zone 1. The first zone was particularly complicated as it included a complex maze of scaffolding around the cast of the Portico de la Gloria, as well as working with very little space above many smaller objects, and still surrounded by so much other scaffolding! The team also have very little opportunity to remove the scaffolding poles and boards from the gallery so as not to disturb day-to-day museum life.
Just before the middle section of zone 1 was taken down, Victor Borges (Senior Sculpture Conservator) and I nipped up onto the scaffolding for one last close look at the Portico de la Gloria while we had the chance. The team had already removed a large amount of the scaffolding above us so light flooding down from the roof enabled us to see the cast post-conservation, and under natural light for the first time. Years and years of dust have been painstakingly removed by Victor and the rest of the team, and as a result the object has been transformed. The lower part of the cast is yet to be conserved as it will be more easily accessible when all of the scaffolding has been removed. For now though the top of the cast looks magnificent, but has been carefully covered in plastic sheeting to prevent any more dust gathering on the object before the gallery re-opens.
In preparation for the striking of zone 2 of the scaffold, the team have been working flat out to ensure that conservation and photography of Trajan’s column was completed. The two casts have now also been wrapped in plastic for the next year to ensure that no dust from the scaffold can work its way back onto the objects. Conservators and technicians have now moved onto the final section to complete work in this area before zone 3 is struck.