When this post was first created back in 2012 it contains many inaccuracies gathered from a diverse range of sources. So i have now replaced it with the words of Peter Sotheran MBE JP, Chairman of Trustees of Sir Wm Turner’s Almshouses 1996 – 2014
The statue of Justicia (Justice) is NOT by James Gibb. My own researches of catalogues and sales/purchase invoices suggest that it may have been created by Henry Scheere of London.
It is believed to have come from Canons in Edgware (London) but there is no documentary evidence to support that. I have studied the architects drawings for Canons but Justicia is not shown amongst the many statutes that once lined the roof-top parapet of the building. I have examined the auction sale catalogues for the dispersal of Canons artefacts in 1745 and this statue is not listed.
There is no documentary evidence in the almshouses’ archives (at NRYCC Record Office in Northallerton) of its acquisition or installation. So it remains something of a mystery although the smart money backs the chance that it did come from Canons.
Over the centuries the statue had had 14 different coats of paint. Paint analysis made it possible to determine the original finish and the present stone colour is how it originally appeared.
She leans forward because this statue originally stood on a roof parapet, high above the ground. Tilting her torso forward corrects the effect of perspective which, otherwise, would make her head and shoulders appear to be too small when viewed from ground level.
The restoration of the statue involved removing almost quarter of a ton of cement, plaster and rubble that had been poured inside to stiffen the statue (no wonder the plinth tilted over!). The original wrought iron armature (internal frame) that supported the shell was replaced with a new stainless steel armature. The internal void was filled with a plastic resin to give solidity; should ever it need to be removed, it can be dissolved with a specific chemical solution and removed without harming the shell.
The repairs were funded by the Paul Getty and the Wolfson Foundations, Tees Valley Community Foundation and the Pizza Express Foundation.
Heres a ‘Before’ shot from the photostream of Bolckow for comparison.