In 2012 we won the tender for the restoration of the tomb of the artistic genius Sir Thomas Gainsborough, who resides within the churchyard of St. Anne’s in Kew.
Gainsborough died on August 2nd 1788 and his tomb, on the South side of the church, was in a state of neglect, with cracked broken stonework and rusting railings. The tomb was last restored in 1924 and was again in need of conservation work.
He had given instructions that ‘a stone without arms or ornament might be placed over him, inscribed with his bare name.’.
In 1797, the artist’s nephew and studio assistant, Gainsborough Dupont, was interred with Gainsborough, followed a year later by the artist’s wife, Margaret.The initial simple gravestone was later replaced with the present larger monument. The capstone inscribed, ‘restored and enclosed as a tribute of respect by E.M. Ward RA September 1865’, as the work was paid for and organised by the history painter Edward Matthew Ward (1826 – 1879).
Once the cement render from the 1924 restoration had been removed and the brickwork exposed, it was consolidated, footings were dug and the stone (Portland Basebed) plinth and upstand were fitted. The lettering on the ledger was recut by the lettercutter Robyn Golden Hann. It was then cleaned and lichens removed. The original Portland kerb was repaired and given a lime sheltercoat to protect and unify the whole. The refurbished railings were then fixed into position with molten lead.
Ledger and lettering before cleaning and recutting
Thanks to the Architect Simon Child as well as Nigel the Vicar and the Friends of St Anne's Kew who funded the project.