Rupert Harris Restored statue of Shakespeare

The inspiration and methods leading to the creation of the lead statue of Shakespeare by John Cheere, and its restoration

Rupert Harris (Conservator)

Tuesday 14 March, 7.30 pm - Town Hall
Joint meeting with the Shakespeare Club

In a niche on the north side of the Town Hall is a lead statue of William Shakespeare, donated to the town by David Garrick in 1769 in conjunction with his Jubilee. In 2021, an inspection showed serious damage to the statue, including splits in the lead and rusting of the iron framework. The Town Council appointed Rupert Harris ACR, one of the country's leading conservators of metal sculpture, who highlighted the major significance of the statue, as well as the high probability that it would originally have been painted, so the black finish was not the intended appearance. For more information, see the Heritage Statement. The restored statue was unveiled on Shakespeare's birthday on 23rd April 2022 by Shakespearean actors Dame Judi Dench and Sir Kenneth Branagh.

Rupert Harris studied sculpture and history of art, before joining the V&A Metalwork Conservation Department as a student in 1979. In 1982, after completing the four-year Diploma course, he set up his own conservation practice specialising in metals, ranging from small, decorative objects to monumental sculpture and architectural ironwork. The studio now specialises in all sculptural materials ranging from plastics, glass and timber to metals, terracotta and marble. In 1982 Rupert was appointed Metalwork Conservation Advisor to The National Trust and in 2003 was appointed Architectural Metalwork Consultant to English Heritage. Rupert Harris is a PACR Accredited Conservator-Restorer, a member of the Institute of Conservation and an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.