Cliveden Conservation carries out condition surveys and conservation treatments on behalf of the National Trust to help preserve and protect the Fountain of Love at Cliveden. The two-colour marble sculpture designed by Thomas Waldo Story was commissioned by Lord Astor in 1897.
Summary of the conservation work carried out
Close inspection of each element of the fountain including the glass mosaic basin, shell carved from Sienna marble and three figural sculptures, each carved from one solid block of Carrara marble, allows for continuous monitoring of deterioration. The detailed reports inform future programmes of conservation works.
The last condition assessment in 2019 indicated instability of the fountain’s carved shell surface. Crystallisation of water-soluble salts in the Sienna marble shell causes localised delamination and surface deterioration. The sculpture overall was structurally sound as there were no signs of movement between the sections of the sculpture.
Conservation treatment includes cleaning, consolidating, grouting cracks and open joints, deep and top surface pointing and providing mortar repairs to stabilise endangered areas of the shell.
Lime-based products are used to provide a sacrificial surface for water evaporation and prevent further salts crystallising on the marble. Repairs are carried out using an aggregate made of washed sands and marble sugar (crushed marble) to be sympathetic with the original Sienna marble.
Other cyclical conservation treatment includes the delicate operation of cleaning the three figural sculptures. Tailor-made winter covers are used during the winter months to protect the historic sculptures from adverse weather conditions.
As part of the ongoing maintenance of the fountain, Cliveden Conservation have also trained and supervised National Trust volunteers in the regular cleaning of the basin to remove algae, mud and coins and reveal the blue tesserae.
Cliveden Conservation continues to support the National Trust in the care and conservation of the Fountain of Love at Cliveden. This includes the application and removal of the Winter Covers to protect the delicate and fragile carvings during the winter months.
Cliveden, National Trust
Advisory and material analysis | Stonework | Winter covers
Protect sculpture and decorative stonework with winter covers