Update 1 restoration memorial monument

3 April 2023

Mid-December 2022, Tim Kemperman (sculptor) started preparations to transport the memorial monument to Amsterdam. The floor and walls of the chapel were covered with wooden boards to protect them. The fencing next to the pulpit was carefully taken apart and everything was numbered, photographed and then removed for transport. Fortunately, the pulpit can remain in place.

Mid-January 2023, work began on making a table level with the tomb in order to very carefully move the draped cloth with the effigy of Hieronymus (weighing about 750 kilos!) onto the table.

Several salt samples have since been taken. Analysis of the samples shows that the salt content in the mausoleum is very high.

Prior to its restoration, the statue will be completely wrapped in plaster with wooden beams used as splints (as, for example, in the case of a broken leg) to prevent further damage due to the crack located in the middle of the body. In Amsterdam, the plan is to mill two slots in the underside and place two long stainless steel strips in the slots to make further breaking virtually impossible. This is also in connection with putting the sculpture back in place.

Tim Kemperman:

I was called by filmmaker Sander Snoep, brother of Tobias, asking if he could make a film documentary about the restoration of the tomb. I didn’t have to think long about his great offer, especially considering his professionalism. So we were in Stavenisse early on Monday morning, where he spent the whole day filming.
Meanwhile, he also filmed in Tobias’ workshop.

On Monday 6 February, sculptors Tim Kemperman and Tobias Snoep set to work with a couple of employees to prepare the effigy of Hieronymus for transport to Amsterdam. They first cleaned the statue, then smeared it with green soap. This is done to facilitate later removal of the plaster. The statue was splinted with wooden beams and then plastered from the throat to the legs. This was done to prevent the fracture running across the abdomen from getting bigger or even breaking completely.

Then, using heavy straps, the statue was very carefully pulled onto a table made at the same height as the tomb. Then the 750-plus-kilogram statue was lifted a little bit, the legs of the table were screwed off, and the statue was placed on a trolley ready for that purpose. Thus, it was driven from the chapel out of the church to the waiting car.

After the statue was placed on the car, everything was properly splinted and secured to reduce the risks of transportation. After a safe journey, the statue was hoisted off that same evening at Tobias Snoep’s workshop. It is now in storage until it can be desalted in the specially made bath.

On Tuesday, Tim Kemperman and his brother and some other workers started carving out the tomb on which the statue was resting. This has to be done very carefully to avoid damage to the tomb. By Thursday evening, they had reached the bottom and the front and both side pieces of the tomb could be removed.

On Friday, the beautifully carved front was very carefully detached from the dunks and wrapped well in a wooden frame. It was then hoisted out with the gantry crane so that this piece, too, could be safely transported to Amsterdam.

Watch photos of the restoration progress here.

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