Lead Cistern. Dyffren Gardens
The lead cistern, once used as a planter but in a somewhat sad state having been heavily vandalised with graffiti, needed gentle but effective re-shaping and the disguise of the graffiti. It also needed a stainless steel support to enable it to return to its use as a planter in the lovely South Wales garden at Dyffryn.
Dyffryn Gardens are an exceptional example of Edwardian garden design. Covering more than 55 acres they feature a stunning collection of intimate garden rooms including a rose garden, Pompeian garden and several ponds.
The enormous great lawn is bordered by seasonal bedding and a croquet lawn. There is also a large glasshouse, statuary collection, and arboretum featuring trees from all over the world.
Designed by eminent landscape architect Thomas Mawson in 1906, the gardens are the early 20th-century vision of coal magnate John Cory and his son Reginald.
Within the gardens, Dyffryn House, a grand Victorian mansion overlooks the key aspects of the gardens. Parts of the ground and first floors have been restored. As part of this restortion it was decided that the lead cistern should return to its previous use as a planter. Sadly the ravages of time had taken their toll on what was quite possibly never a particularly good lead casting. Added to this the ravages of graffiti artists who scratched their names into the lead and the result was a rather distorted and sad piece of work. The National Trust, wishing to return the piece to an appropriate location and original use sought the advice of Eura Conservation with regard to gently re-shaping, strengthening and disguising the graffiti.
The grime was removed by thorough steam cleaning before the graffiti, where possible, was disguised. The shape was made more circular and a stainlees steel internal support designed and made. The support was carefully lead- welded to the outer skin. This support will enable the cistern to be placed back in the garden on a plinth as a planter and used as part of the stunning display.