Sculpture restoration in Washington, DC


The monument to Louis Daguerre currently resides outside of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The monument was created to honor Louis Daguerre, who made great strides in the photographic industry by creating the daguerreotype in 1839. He developed a process to create crisp, detailed images using chemicals and sensitized plates. The National Portrait Gallery has obtained a large collection of daguerreotype portraits, the earliest an image of John Quincy Adams from 1843. 

In 1889, the Photographers Association of America commissioned for this monument to be created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Daguerre’s invention. Jonathan Scott Hartley was the artist commissioned to design the bronze and granite sculpture. Using a daguerreotype of Daguerre himself for reference, the artist incorporated his likeness into the sculpture. A woman places a garland wreath around Daguerre and a large globe. The design honors Daguerre and the global impact that his invention had on the world.

After years of weathering, the bronze sculpture’s surface had turned to a light green patina and needed to be restored. B.R. Howard has worked with many museums to conserve art and was honored to have the opportunity to complete the treatment. With years of experience in sculpture restoration, including bronze sculpture restoration and granite sculpture restoration, BRH was able to create a successful sculpture restoration plan based on the specifics of this project. The sculpture treatment plan included the reduction of corrosion, cleaning the granite, and hot wax treatment which returned the sculpture to its original dark brown finish. 

ConservationHolly Tritt