The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Dr Livingstone, I resume
Experts piece back together smashed bust of explorer
IT lay in a museum store room for years, having been smashed in an accident.
But during 15 months of painstaking restoration it was pieced together like the most complex of 3D jigsaws.
Now the historic bust of the 19th Century Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone is about to go on display.
Conservators at the West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in West Sussex used a combination of state-of-the-art technology and everyday items such as clingfilm to restore the 2ft tall plaster bust, painted in layers of gold and dark bronze.
It will go on show at the David Livingstone Birthplace Museum in Blantyre, Lanarkshire, which is to reopen on Wednesday after a £9.1 million transformation.
Ceramics conservator Andriani Maimaridou was tasked with reassembling the bust after it suffered ‘severe impact damage’ some time after it was donated in 1993. She said: ‘I am glad that I had the opportunity to work on such an incredible project of an interesting material type, shape, context and history.’
Natalie Milor, curator at the museum, praised ‘the care Andriani has taken to restore the bust of our museum’s namesake’.
After spending 30 years exploring Africa, Livingstone was presumed dead. He was found near Lake Tanganyika, in present-day Tanzania, in 1871 by another explorer, Henry Stanley, who allegedly greeted him with the famous words: ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume?’