Cliveden Conservation to restore one of Stowe's lost treasures

A historically-significant monument destroyed by a falling tree is being recreated by Cliveden Conservation at Stowe House as part of the National Trust's programme to return the gardens back to their 18th-century glory,

Part of a 19th Century sketch of Stowe House's Gothic Cross. Image: National Trust
Part of a 19th Century sketch of Stowe House's Gothic Cross. Image: National Trust

Cliveden is carving Stowe’s three tier Gothic Cross anew. Originally built in 1814 from Coade stone as a memorial but little remained after its destruction in the 1950s except fragments found in the undergrowth two decades later.

Cliveden Conservation's Stone Section carried out a detailed survey of the pieces and the National Trust helped with research. Cliveden has produced a 3D CAD model.

Architectural stone and sculpture conservator Nicholas Barnfield said: "We are combing craft with modern science and technologies. "Fragments of the cross have been scanned and inserted into 3D CAD drawings. By forensically using those fragments, together with only one drawn reproduction, we have successfully managed to recreate the Gothic Cross as an image. As a result of these drawings, we can model and recreate the plaster patterns to produce the moulds which are then fired in a kiln to produce the Coade stone." 

The reinstatement of the Gothic Cross is just one of the projects within the National Trust’s Landscape Restoration Programme to restore Stowe’s landscape garden which is famous for its unique statuary and temples.

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