The Welcoming Christ statue was removed from Canterbury Cathedral’s Christ Church Gate this morning in order for the next phase of The Canterbury Journey work to begin on the entrance to the Cathedral.
Extensive conservation to the existing fabric of the gate will now be carried out by the Cathedral’s team of highly-skilled mason-conservators, comprising of some replacement stonework and the use of a variety of specialised cleaning techniques, including a laser.
After removal by local firm Artful Logistics, The Welcoming Christ statue will be stored at their specialist facility, where it will be surveyed to assess its condition before undergoing any necessary conservation and repair work. It will return to its niche at the end of the project in around 18 months’ time.
Head of Conservation, Heather Newton, said: “The large bronze statue needed removing for safe keeping [while we carry out] the last major piece of work by The Canterbury Journey – the extensive conservation work planned for the whole of the gateway. The statue needs to be out of the way so it is not damaged.”
Tim Hewitt from Artful Logistics said: “We have moved artwork around the world [and whether] handling an inexpensive sculpture or something worth a lot of money, you just have to handle it carefully.
“The restriction we had here is that it’s particularly tight in the niche so we had to be extremely careful when lifting to make sure nothing was going to suddenly move, but all went smoothly today so we’re very happy.”
The Canterbury Journey is a major development programme at the Cathedral to conserve and safeguard the building’s heritage for future generations and enrich the experience of all who visit. You can view a timeline of the project here.