PROVIDENCE, RI – The 14-foot tall Independent Man statue will spend another few days in the State House main entrance before it’s placed on padded cradle for transport to the Rhode Island National Guard’s North Main Street Armory in Providence for restoration.
On Monday, President and Principal Conservator of EverGreene Architectural Arts Mark Rabinowitz, will begin oversight of a months-long restoration of the iconic statue. That work will include detailed cleaning of the statue’s surface, repair work to the gold plating, and an application of gold leaf on top of the plating, according to Gov. Dan McKee’s office.
Today and Friday, visitors can get an up-close look at the statue that’s usually spotted from afar on the highway, or with a craned neck on the State House grounds.
“The Independent Man is not only an iconic symbol of local history, but also a representation of Rhode Island’s spirit,” said Governor Dan McKee. “I encourage members of the public to visit the State House this week, take a selfie with the statute, sign our official guest book and become part of Rhode Island history.”
Since the statue was brought down last month, people from over 20 states (and Washington, D.C.), more than a dozen countries and almost all of Rhode Island’s 39 cities and towns have stopped by to sign the official guest book and take pictures with the Independent Man.
Independent Man restoration plan
Gold leaf was the original covering of the Independent Man, but due to wear and weathering, the remaining leaf was removed in the 1970s and replaced with gold plating. The latest conservation work will restore the gold leaf covering while retaining the gold plate underneath, so that any future wear to the gold leaf will not significantly impact the statue’s color.
The work will return the statue to its original appearance.
The statue was designed by sculptor George Brewster and cast in bronze by the Gorham Manufacturing Company. The Independent Man was originally covered in gold leaf when it was placed atop the State House in 1899. In the mid-1970s, the statue had suffered significant wear, and was removed for repair work. At that time, the remaining gold leaf was removed, and the statue was covered in gold plating.
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