Restoration of morgante statue at Hever Castle

February 17 2020 | Garden History

A bronze statue nicknamed Morgante in the Sunken Garden at Hever Castle has undergone restoration after falling into the pond.

Hever Castle worked with Hall Conservation who cleaned, repaired and re-gilded the Morgante statue after it became submerged in the water.

The water feature dates back to 17th/18th century and depicts Court Dwarf Morgante who was the court dwarf of Cosimo I de’ Medicini, the duke of Florence and Grand Duke of Tuscany.

The sculpture is moulded after the image of Morgante riding on a dragon by Italian artist, Giambologna.

Experts from Hall Conservation manually cleaned the Morgante statue to remove dirt and corrosion as well as repairing the back body of the dragon and the fish’s mouth.

The inner piping of the Morgante statue was cleaned out and new piping installed to ensure he could work again as a water feature.

Then the Morgante sculpture was prepared, primed and painted before being gilded to shine once more.

Brian Hall of Hall Conservation said, “We were sorry to hear about the statue’s accidental swim, but delighted to be asked to restore the fine figure to its former glory. After treatment from our specialist restoration experts in our Greenwich workshops, Morgante was looking as good as new and ready to return to its home in the beautiful hidden Sunken Garden at Hever Castle.”

Visitors to Hever Castle’s 125 acre stunning gardens will now be able to see the Morgante statue again in the Sunken Garden in the Italian Garden, the vision of former owner William Waldorf Astor.

The Sunken Garden is hidden in the centre of the Italian Garden behind a tall hedge, originally designed as a `Roman Bath’, complete with marble pavement.

Surrounded by yew hedges and full of exotic planting, it almost has its own microclimate, providing a beautiful sun trap even on a windy day.