Statue of Sarah Siddons

Restoration of the Sarah Siddons statue

Sarah Siddons (d. 1831) was the most famous tragedienne of the 18th century. She was born in 1755 and began as a lady's maid in Warwickshire, married aged 18 and had 7 children. Her first performance was in 1774, when she was noticed by David Garrick. Between 1782 and her retirement in 1812 she dominated the London theatre scene. She was an acting sensation - playing Lady Macbeth, audiences swooned and had to be carried out of the theatre. Expressive and brilliant, she seemed 'to burn with a fire beyond the human'. Public interest was phenomenal - the Duke of Wellington attended her receptions and ‘carriages were drawn up before her door nearly all day long’. She died in 1831 in London and was buried in St Mary's cemetery at Paddington Green. Over 5,000 people attended her funeral. This statue, by French sculptor Léon-Joseph Chavalliaud, was unveiled in 1897 and based on a portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds as ‘The Tragic Muse’.

The statue was vandalised in 2011, her face badly damaged and left foot fractured. Historic repairs in polyester resin have discoloured and failed. HOLT has launched a project to restore the statue - replacing and repairing all damaged features with new marble sections and crushed stone resin, cleaning the sulphate crust, lichen and other organic growth. The project is due for completion in July 2019.

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