Bust gets laser treatment

By on 10/08/2010 in Culture, News

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery conservation staff will be using a state-of-the-art laser gun to clean up a bust of Cardinal Newman, sculpted by Richard Westmacott the younger, as part of an exhibition celebrating the beatification of the Cardinal.  

The museum is one of only four to use this technology in the UK.

Firing a series of white flashes from a gun, the bust will be cleaned at speeds as fast as the speed of light.  The technology involved is, remarkably, the same principle used in tattoo removal.

The bust of Newman was commissioned in 1841 to Richard Westmacott the younger, a sculptor and friend of the Cardinal from his days at Eton.  

It will be on display along with other significant and personal items owned by Newman, such as his cardinal robes, hat and shoes, a pectoral cross and a shell engraved with the Immaculate Conception, all of which have never been on display before.

The exhibition also includes a painting by William Thomas Roden of Cardinal Newman, entitled, Portrait of His Eminence Cardinal Newman (1879). The painting is from the city's own collections and has been specially restored for the occasion, which at the time was considered to be the most truly lifelike portrait of the man.

The Cardinal Newman exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery is from 10 September - 6 January 2011. Admission Free.

- Ends -

Media Contact 1        Carmel Girling        0121 303 2923
Carmel.girling@birmingham.gov.uk

Media Contact 2        Thomas Jeavons        0121 303 3392
Thomas.Jeavons@birmingham.gov.uk 

Notes to editor:

The three other Museums using this technology are the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Liverpool Museums and the City and Guilds conservation training centre.

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