Ornate Lamp Conservation

Published: 5 January 2021

Victorian Design

This Grade II listed lamp standard was erected circa. 1832 on the northwest corner of Leicester Museum & Art Gallery in Museum Square. At the request of Leicester City Council, conservation and repairs of the lamp standard were carried out between April and September 2020.

Although gas lighting was installed along New Walk in 1832, the Museum Square Lamp Standard and other cast-iron street furniture along New Walk are thought to be from the late 19th century.

The lanterns were replicated in the 1960s and the columns on the south side of New Walk were replicated in the 1990s. However, the Museum Square lamp standard is unlike the others in the area today. A late Victorian postcard shows a lamp standard similar to this one situated north of the Oval.

A late Victorian picture postcard view of New Walk looking north from the Oval
A late Victorian picture postcard view of New Walk looking north from the Oval

Conservation work

The lamp standard was in a less than desirable state. The iron had been corroded by moisture in the ground and it had become brittle and fractured. Water collecting in the joints between the foliage sections had also begun to mould.

Once removed, the lamp standard was stripped of paint and the layers were analysed to determine the type of paints previously used and the colours which covered it. It was repainted with durable substances and cable holes and open joints were filled and repaired.

The missing and damaged cast-iron foliage patterns were recast from moulds taken from the original foliage and from re-modelled clay foliage. They were then gilded to provide the shining gold coating we can see today.

Gilded foliage on the lamp standard
Gilded foliage on the lamp standard

A new lantern was designed for the stand and it was created in the style of the lantern seen in the late Victorian postcard picture.

During the renovation, the name of the foundry/maker ‘SHARMAN, LEICESTER’ was exposed on the upper plinth. However, no records have been found relating to the Sharman Foundry in Leicester. One thought is that the lamp standard may be attributed to John Sharman (1776-c. 1840) from Melton Mowbray, a watchmaker and ironmonger.

The lamp standard has now been returned to its original position in Museum Square and is viewable at any time by the public.

Lamp Standard Gallery