Fortunately for collectors, Bronze sculptures need very little in the way of cleaning and polishing. The best advice as to their care is more a case of what not to do rather than what must be done. But to give you peace of mind, below we have written our top tips for cleaning and taking care of bronzes.
Before you start
- Be aware that lighter areas are often where the bronze has been rubbed, even back to a golden finish. This is usually caused by hand contact and often seen with smaller figures that have been used as things like paperweights for years and therefore handled daily. Do not try to match up these light spots or even chipped areas with paint or lacquer. It is far better to leave the surface as it is than to alter the lustre (and also reduce the value) of a bronze by ‘touching’ in areas.
- Before tucking into any cleaning, you also need to consider that darker corners may be the original patina and part of the effect intended by the artist.
Always avoid using:
- Soap and water as they may cause staining
- Abrasives, wire brushes and metal objects as they will scratch the finish
- Varnish, lacquer or anything from an aerosol can as these produce an unnatural gloss and the chemicals may eat into the surface and cause damage
Instead, care for your bronzes by:
- Removing dirt from the surface using a clean slightly damp cloth.
- Removing foreign objects with nothing harder than a soft toothbrush, tooth pick, or the corner of a card.
- Going over the bronze with a clean, dry duster or a fine, non-abrasive brush
Some favour finishing off with a light watch oil, brushed gently over the surface, allowed to set, then wiped over with a soft cloth. Although this will afterwards attract dust, the moist finish it produces is very pleasing.
The above has been produced in good faith and we cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to bronzes by their being cleaned. If in any doubt please consult a professional.