Greyfriars Bobby gets a nose job
The statue of Scotland’s most famous dog, Greyfriars Bobby, got a facelift this week following a Facebook campaign that highlighted how the practice of rubbing the statue’s nose for luck was wearing off the colour on his nose.
On 1st October 2013, bronze sculpture conservation and restoration specialists, Powderhall Bronze, undertook work to clean, re-patinate and waxBobby’s nose to restore the black colour that had been lost over time.
Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s Culture and Sport Convener, said: “Although Bobby has never been in any immediate danger, it was highlighted to us that the practice of rubbing his nose was starting to make him look a little scruffy. As one of the most famous – and most popular – statues in the Capital, it’s only right that he looks his best at all times.
“Once we became aware of the local concern it was clear that we had to act and I’m delighted we’ve been able to get specialists in to restore GreyfriarsBobby to his former glory.”
Becky Thomson, who started the Facebook campaign calling for an end to the practice of rubbing the statue’s nose for luck, today welcomed the Council’s action.
She said: “This campaign started out as a bit of fun and I was amazed by how many people supported the page. We discussed ways we could address the problem as ordinary members of the public – by asking tour guides to discourage it or maybe using anti-climb paint. Given that this is a world-famous statue in a World Heritage site it now makes sense the Council are involved.
“Now it is up to anybody who is passing just to keep an eye open and politely ask people to keep their paws off Bobby’s nose so it doesn’t happen again!”
Work that was undertaken:
- The statue was thoroughly cleaned using a mild detergent before being heated with a blowtorch to restore the colour. The bronze was heated to a temperature that is sufficient for the chemical solution to sizzle when applied with a brush. Colour is gradually built up by alternately heating small areas of the bronze sculpture with the oxidising flame and then applying the solution to the heated area.
- Once this was completed a microcrystalline wax was applied while the bronze was still warm. The wax was brushed onto the surface of the sculpture ensuring no brush marks are visible.
- After the initial waxing was cooled and buffed, a further 2 coats of wax was applied.
For more detail on the Greyfriars Bobby statue visit the Edinburgh Museums & Galleries website. Or read the Greyfriars Bobby story on Our Town Stories – Edinburgh City Libraries’ online hub for stories, images and maps about Edinburgh.