Between 2012 and 2014 Sasa carried out an involved polychrome identification and conservation treatment of the Head of Christ by Pietro Torrigiani in the Wallace Collection in London. The sculpture, dated to 1520 and originally located in Westminster Abbey, is made up of a central white marble head surrounded by an elaborately carved and polychrome frame.

Cross section and pigment analysis of the four sections of the frame showed several painted schemes, as well as gilding. Evidence of 17th century restoration and later repainting were also found. The latest modern paint would have been applied in situ at the Wallace Collection.

‘Section of Torrigiani frame before treatment”

In 2013 it was decided to remove the disfiguring modern overpaint and reveal the underlying paint scheme of dark red and blue paint, while the existing gilding was retained. The overpaint removal was done entirely under magnification over several months.

The sculpture is due to be re-displayed in the Wallace Collection galleries in the near future.

‘Section of Torrigiani frame after treatment”