Rouen, france is the home of the Cathedral Notre-Dame de Rouen and of Gustave Flaubert, the spot where Joan of Arc was burned and where painters Claude Monet and Roy Lichtenstein were inspired. Nell Casey of the New York Times visited the city and writes of its beauty. (photos)
Caelin on Andrede reports that he has posted several albums of photos from Coronation, which took place recently in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. Also recently posted was a photo album from Dyeing Symposium. The photos are available on Flickr.
Stacey Evans is a world-class jouster. As Sir Edward Stacey, he took part recently in a medieval joust at Carisbrooke Castle, a motte-and-bailey structure, on the Isle of Wight. Stacy was interviewed in a short video from the BBC.
Hark! Is that yon horn I hear, heralding in the hunters to come and celebrate the season? (Why yes……… yes it is!)
Whom are they escorting on the road to Ruantallan? I see wagons and horses, men, women and children… a veritable parade of……. Wait? Could it be? Their Majesties are enroute to visit our fair lands?
Come spend a day of rejoicing in the plenty that the fall harvest has given us, welcome back the warriors from their long journey to lands foreign and near in defense of our homes and happiness. Witness the majesty of… Their Majesties!
There will be a heavy combat tournament run by Baron William Lancton, the annual Herne the Hunter Herald’s championship, a child/youth tea with the Queen, a sewing/crafting circle with the Queen, children’s activities organized by m’Lady Juliote Castlenou D’Arry (Lilou), and more!
Please visit the Event page at http://www.eastkingdom.org/EventDetails.html?eid=2551 for further details.
Filed under: Events, Local Groups
The world’s oldest surviving public movie theater, the Eden Theatre in the town of La Ciotat 20 miles east of Marseille on the south coast of France, has been restored and reopened after 30 years of neglect. In a gala opening on Wednesday, October 9th, this little town’s prominent place in film history was reclaimed with a showing of some of the first moving pictures ever filmed, shot in 1895 by the Lumière brothers in La Ciotat’s summer sun.
In 1892, Antoine Lumière, father of the soon-to-be-famous brothers, had a seaside mansion built in La Ciotat. A friend of his had introduced him to the town and he had fallen in love with its charms. After construction on the Tuscan-style villa known as Château Lumière was completed in 1893, entire family spent summers there. The timing was ideal to make the sleepy town of 12,000 a dominant figure in movie history. According to one popular view of events, Antoine saw Edison’s Kinetoscope in Paris in 1894 and suggested to his sons that they look into improving on Edison’s device which was heavy, dependent on electricity and only allowed one person at a time to view the motion picture through a peephole.
Within months, Louis had invented combination device that shot the film, developed it and projected it. The brothers patented the Cinématographe on February 13th, 1895, using the name of an earlier recording and projecting device patented by Léon Bouly in February of 1892. By 1894 Bouly could no longer afford the fees to renew his patents, so the Lumière’s snapped up the name. Some historians believe Louis took more than just the name from Bouly’s device, but if so, he improved upon it drastically. Louis insisted he came up with the idea all on his own, denying even the story about his father and the Kinetoscope.
On March 22nd, 1895, the first movie audience witnessed La Sortie de l’Usine (“Exiting the factory”), less than a minute of footage of workers, mainly women, leaving the Lumière photographic plate factory in Lyons shot three days before the showing. This demonstration took place in Paris for a private audience at the Société d’Encouragement pour l’Industrie Nationale (Society for the Encouragement of National Industry). The theme was advances in photography, and indeed very early color photographic film debuted at the same event. Louis was surprised that his moving picture got far more attention than the advent of color.
After this successful debut, the Lumières held private, invitation-only showings of their film shorts in various cities in France and Belgium. La Ciotat was among them, with a screening held on September 21st in the grand salon of the Château Lumière. Several of the shorts were filmed in La Ciotat. La Mer recorded kids jumping off a rickety one-plank pier into the ocean. Le Repas de Bébé starred Auguste and his wife Marguerite feeding their baby girl Andrée in the garden of the Château. That sweet bébé would die tragically at the young age of 24 in the influenza pandemic of 1918.
Those shorts were among the 10 on the bill for the first film screening for a paying public audience on December 28th, 1895, at the Salon Indien du Grand Café in Paris. The most famous Lumière film of all which was shot at La Ciotat was not shown at the Salon Indien but debuted shortly thereafter in January of 1896. Arrivé d’un Train à La Ciotat captures the arrival of a train into the station. There’s an urban legend that when audiences first saw that train barreling towards the camera, they panicked and fled to the back of the theater out of fear of the approaching iron horse. That didn’t actually happen. This wasn’t the first movie ever shown and people were quite capable of distinguishing between a real train and a filmed one.
All the articles I’ve read about the restored theater claim Arrivé d’un Train à La Ciotat was the first movie shown at the Eden. This appears to be a new urban legend hitching a ride on the pre-existing urban legend of the screaming audiences terrified of the moving train. In fact, the first moving picture shown at the Eden Theater in La Ciotat was Barque Sortant du Port, in which three men in the Lumière party attempt to row a boat past a jetty into some choppy waters only to be turned back by the waves. It debuted on March 21st, 1899, before an audience of 250. The poster advertising the show has survived, so we know the boat came first, followed by a train trip over the Alps, American cowboys lassoing horses (Western themes were popular even before there were actual scripted movies), baby’s first meal projected in color, a camel caravan at the Pyramids of Giza and more.
It was this 1899 screening that secures for the Eden the title of the world’s oldest movie theater. The Salon Indien du Grand Café was gone by the time of the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle. None of the other early theaters have survived either. Built in 1889, the Eden was a coffee house/music hall that put on vaudeville shows, concerts and plays as well as boxing and Greco-Roman wrestling events. Live programming continued even after it added film to its repertoire. Yves Montand performed there when he was a scrappy youth. So did Edith Piaf.
In 1981, a group of local film enthusiasts founded le Festival du Berceau du Cinéma (the Festival of the Crafle of Cinema). For two days in July, the Eden Theater showed the Lumière Brothers’ films that started it all using the authentic original Cinématographe, first of the series, that had projected the movies at the Salon Indien in 1895. The festival was a smashing success, so much so that the town must be very grateful they weren’t using the original highly flammable nitrate film stock because there were 700 spectators crammed into a 380-seat theater.
That was a small tactical victory, however, in a losing war. The Eden’s illustrious history was marred almost to the breaking point in 1982 when its manager, Georges Giordana, 25, was murdered during an attempted robbery. The city was already in a steep economic decline, devastated by the demise of the shipbuilding industry. The Eden, hobbled and decaying, stopped showing regular movies. It only opened one week a year for the festival, which continued to draw huge crowds, until 1995 when it was permanently shuttered and left to crumble.
The festival inspired conservationists to campaign to save the Eden, but political infighting and a lack of funds blocked all attempts at restoration. Finally in 2008, a breakthrough: Marseille was declared European Capital of Culture for 2013. Jean-Claude Gaudin, mayor of Marseille, takes on the restoration of the Eden as a flagship project for the 2013 celebration. It took two more years to prise the necessary €6 million ($8 million) out of the government.
Now the work is finally done. There oak floors where the ratty old carpet used to be, new red velvet seats (166 of them, in keeping with reasonable fire codes for such a small space) and a beautiful yellow and grey-painted facade with mosaic decorations. There’s a permanent exhibition showcasing the history of moving pictures and La Ciotat’s pivotal role therein. At night, the facade is lit by a laser installation of a train in honor of the famous 1895 short.
At a demo of SCA armored combat by the Iron Brigade, interviewer Homer learns the difference between medieval armored combat and LARPing. The interview took place at the 2013 San Diego ComicCon.
The Crown Principality of Tir Mara’s weekend was one of Thanksgiving, and a Gentleman and Gentlewoman’s Meal with a pie of that Turkish fowl led Lady Mergriet Van Wijenhorst to victory as Princess’ A&S Champion at the Tir Mara Rattan and A&S Championships Event held in the Shire of Lyndhaven on Saturday. The competition, while small by kingdom standards, was well represented by the people of Tir Mara and high in standard of entry. Katherine Murray was cloaked with the regalia of Prince’s Champion of A&S by His Majesty Kenric, both He and Her Majesty proudly bedecked in the blue & white stars of Their Crown Principality. Katherine was recognized for her work in dyes and the garments made from her explorations. His Majesty also recognized Lord Guthfrith Yrlingson for his Anglo-Saxon Pin and Brooch with an Honourable Mention. Lady Greta and Lady Cellach don were both present to be applauded and thanked for their year of service as out-going A&S Champions.
It was also the day for choosing the next Tir Mara Rattan Champions, and the outgoing Prince’s Champion, Sir Angus McHaley, devised an endurance tourney, run by Lord Conogan, a challenge to which the entrants rose. At the end of the day the finals were between Lord Big Damn John and Lady Cornelia van den Brugg, sibling squires of Syr Yesungge Altan. Lord John was victorious. In court John was called before Their Majesties and given the sword and tabard of the Tir Mara Prince’s Champion. Then Her Majesty talked about the excellent day of fighting she witnessed and chose of the fighters to recognize Lady Cornelia as Her Tir Mara Champion. Lord Perceval Gower was present to pass off the BIG shield of Princess’ Champion for Cornelia, and was well thanked for his year of service.
Katherine Murrary was once again called from her position in court as Champion and given her Award of Arms. Then Wilfrid Iadun of Lyndhaven was called forth and also made a Lord of Their Court. The children of Tir Mara were called into the presence to receive toys from the Royal Toy Chest, including Lord Wilfrid’s very young son.
Many people worked toward a very wonderful day in Lyndhaven, the event steward, Lady Mariota of Kildare had an excellent staff, and as people headed home from the beautifully decorated hall, many smiles could be seen. Vivant Lyndhaven! Vivant Tir Mara!
Filed under: Arts and Sciences, Court, Events, Heavy List, Local Groups, Tidings
At this time I would like to express my gratitude to several gentles, including to Their Majesties Kenric and Avelina, who have granted my request for one final year in office as Tyger Clerk of the Signet. It has been a wonderful experience working with each of you, the Crown, and the Kingdom of the East, and I look forward to continuing to serve through 2014.
I would also like to take a moment to thank everyone who applied for the positions of the two Tir Mara Deputies for my office, and for the position of Northern Region deputy. I am especially happy to see so much interest shown in volunteering to help with the organizational needs behind the scenes of the East Kingdom College of Scribes, and after weighing the many good qualities in each candidate, I am pleased to announce that Lady Ro Honig con Sommerfeldt will be joining the Signet Office staff as our Northern Region Deputy, and Baroness Shadiyah al-Zahra will also be joining the staff in the new role of Western Tir Mara Deputy.
Last but certainly not least, I owe a huge thanks to the current Signet Office staff. Eva, Eleanor C., Tom, Plunder, and Lada have all worked together seamlessly behind the scenes, through covering for me during two long power outages on my end due to storms, to welcoming many new scribes, to helping coordinate the delivery of completed backlog scrolls, assisting with logging in tracking data on scrolls, and much much more over these last few years. Without their tireless work, the duties of Signet would be much more difficult, and while Eva and Tom in particular will be stepping down from their positions as of 12th Night to a much deserved break from their work for us, the shoes they leave behind will be big ones to fill. At this time I am looking for someone who may wish to carry the torch forward as Backlog Deputy.
Details of this job opening can be found on the Signet Office website (http://signet.eastkingdom.org/wp/2013/10/13/job-opening-backlog-deputy/), and applications will be accepted by October 30, 2013, with a decision to be announced on October 31, 2013.
Yours in Grateful Service,
Filed under: Official Notices, Tidings
Excerpts From a Report by Mistress Brita Mairi Svensdottir
On a fine October day, the Endewearde Hunt for the Unicorn took place. Many activities were enjoyed: A&S classes seemed to be enthusiastically attended, the hurley players had a great time, the children conducted a successful cattle raid, the thrown weapons range was always busy, and many people participated in archery. There were 18 Endeweardian archers who participated in the baronial challenge, which was finally won by Lord Eoin an Doire. Baroness Aneleda’s Enchanted Ground was attended by about ten people who shared poems, songs, music and stories and Aneleda gave brooches made by her to all those who came. New people added their voices to singing around the fire on Saturday night, and Papa’s Bar at the End of the World did a roaring business. The Brewers’ Round Table was attended by brewers of all degrees of experience and Sylvia thought it went very well.
Court was a lot of fun. Baroness Mylisant Grey was the Royal Herald and did a great job. I think that the swearing of fealty was perfect and inspiring. Baroness Sylvia and Baron Ane du Vey promised to be good stewards of the lands of Endewearde and to protect its people. Then the Crown held Their court (they wanted to go first so that they could drink whenever the word Hunt was spoken – Nevell even had a sign he held up to remind people). They gave toys to the children of the East, Brita presented Kenric with some cookies, since he had accused the OGRs of eating all his cookies at the meeting at Pennsic, Erik of Vastergotland and Freya of Visby gave TRM some hand made iron cooking tools, and Godric came forward to speak of the unfortunate incident at last year’s Hunt where the King’s cousin had been skewered with black arrows. Godric had been accused, but he had said, “Those aren’t my arrows, and besides, it would have only taken me one shot”. He taxed Alan of Wytleseie and the North Tower Archery Company with tracking down the shooter. Alan came forward and asked everyone who had a black arrow to come lay it at the king’s feet. About two dozen arrows (and one crossbow bolt) were brought forward by the members of the company, including the baron and Cody, a five year old archer (the Queen said, “You, too, Cody?”). Godric declared that we had confiscated all the shooter’s ammunition and that now Endewearde was safe for Royal visits. King Kenric said that one reason for making Endeweade a barony was to maintain the King’s Peace and to hunt down brigands and he was glad that we had been successful. Then Admiranda Howard was called forward to receive her AoA, calligraphy by Gwillim Kynith, Illumination by Agatha Wanderer, and words by Aneleda Falconbridge.
Baronial court opened, and after words of welcome from Their Excellencies, Lord Otto Gottlieb, head of the Endewearde Brewers’ Guild, was called forward to announce the results of the brewing competition: Master Ludwig von Eisburg won the beer category for his bok and the mead category. Lord William of Wyndhaven won in the cordial category for his cardamom liquor. MistressSylvia won the populace vote for her bochet. Each winner received a ceramic goblet made by Lady Ana Tarr. Then the Smokehaus was invited forward to announce the winner of the bacon tasting. Lord Eoin an Doire, Patriarch of Smokehaus, said that 25 pounds of bacon had been consumed, and that the bacon known as Bob, brought by THL Frasier MacLeod, was the winner. Frasier received a cloisonne bacon token made by Lord Nero Camulus. Next was Baroness Aneleda Falconbridge called forward to read the words of Their Excellencies of Ile du Dragon Dormant. Then came forward Lord Njall Randvesson and Beacon O’Neill to present the baron with a hurley stick and ball. The baron stated how much he had enjoyed the game, and tasked Beacon with forming a baronial hurly team to challenge other baronies. Lord Erik of Vastergotland and Lady Freya of Visby came forward and presented the baron and baroness with hand forged iron cooking tools.
The baroness then asked for Lady Agatha Wanderer to be called forward and emotionally recounted all the ways Agatha had helped with Investiture and presented her with a hand stitched cap made by Lady Mergriet van Wijenhorst, called Griet, newest A&S Champion of Tir Mara, who had given it to the baroness to present to a worthy person. Baroness Sylvia stated that she knew no one more worthy of this than Agatha, especially as Agatha is so fond of headgear. The baron then asked all who had helped with Investiture in any way to stand, and then all who had aided in the Hunt. He thanked all those standing and assured those still seated that they too would have opportunities to serve the barony in the future.
Master Godric of Hamtun came into court to ask permission for Lord Alan of Wytleseie, captain of the North Tower Archery Company, to present badges to those who had advanced in rank. Alan called forward those who had achieved the rank of Archer: Admiranda Howard, Seamus Na Coille Aosda, and Cody. Then those who had achieved the rank of Marksman were recognized: Gruffydd Abernethy, Poplyr Childs, Nero Camulus, Eirikr Thoroldson, and Brita Mairi Svensdottir. Finally those who had achieved Bowman rank were recognized: Eoin an Doire and Njall Randvesson . Each archer received a leather archery badge appropriate to the rank, painted by Lord Gwillim Kynith. Alan then went on to recount the results of the archery tournament, which had several components. Winner of the Woods Walk was Master Godric of Hamtun, with a score of 74. Poplyr Childs came in second, and each received a lovely ceramic box decorated with a unicorn made by Lady Ana Tarr – Godric presented his to the Queen and Poplyr presented his to Baroness Margaret of Rochester, event steward of the Hunt. Godric and Njall Randvesson tied for the novelty shoot, and Godric allowed Njall to take the prize box, which he presented to Baroness Sylvia. Alan announced that Master Krakken Gnashbone was the overall winner, with a score of 102 and Master Godric of Hamtun had come in second with a score of 98. Since he was not present, Godric took the box and promised to deliver it to Krakken.
Then Their Excellencies called into court Their First Archer, Constancia de Vianne and thanked her for her long service to the barony, she handed back her Champion’s regalia and thus was called in Eoin an Doire, winner of the First Archer competition, and given the arm bracers. He said that he hoped to serve as long and as well as Constancia had.
Baronial court then closed, after a few words from the baroness. The King then rose and congratulated Endewearde on its hospitality and vitality, which he said could well be emulated by other groups. He called Endewearde “a shining jewel in the North” and said he had enjoyed watching Endewearde grow and prosper and wished it many more years of the same.
Filed under: Archery, Court, Events, Local Groups, Thrown Weapons
In September 1513, thousands of bodies were buried on or around the battlefield of Flodden in Northumberland, England. Now, 500 years later, excavation has taken place to locate and protect the remains and to declare the burials as war dead.
For 500 years, Henry VIII has had a reputation as a womanizing villain, but TV historian Dr Lucy Worsley has a different view: Henry was a family kind of guy who just wanted to settle down with a good woman.
Dame Dredda reports that, at Morning Court, Their Majesties of the Kingdom of Gleann Abhann offered elevation to the Order of the Laurel to Dame Jane Beaumont.
Why does ice float on water? This was the subject of debate between Galileo and his arch-enemy Lodovico delle Colombe during the summer of 1611, which brought into focus some of the odd properties of water.
Avery W. Krouse, Society Social Media Officer and Deputy Society Seneschal for Special Projects, reports that he has sent a revision to the Social Media Policy to the Board of Directors of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Starting November 25, 2013, the University of Leicester and FutureLearn will offer a free, online history course entitled "England in the time of King Richard III." The six-week course is the first history offering from FutureLearn, and will be taught by Deirdre O’Sullivan, Lecturer in Medieval Archaeology from the University of Leicester.
A letter written by an eyewitness to the Ned Kelly gang’s last stand at Glenrowan on June 18th, 1880, has been donated to the State Library of Victoria. Donald Gray Sutherland had left Scotland for Australia four years earlier. He got a job as a clerk at the Bank of Victoria in the town of Oxley which was just eight miles from Glenrowan. When news of the shootout between the outlaw Kellies and the police spread, Sutherland went to Glenrowan to witness the events.
He described what he saw in a letter to his family dated the 8th of July. It’s a fascinatingly detailed account of Ned, his famous homemade armour, the bullets he took, the grim fate of other gang members. (All creative spelling and grammar is original.)
On hearing of the affray I at once proceeded to Glenrowan to have a look at the desperados who caused me so many dreams and sleepless nights. I saw the lot of them. Ned the leader of the gang being the only one taken alive. He was lying on a stretcher quite calm and collected notwithstanding the great pain he must have been suffering from his wounds. He was wounded in 5 or 6 places. Only on the arms and legs. His body and head being encased in armour made from the moule boards of a lot of ploughs. Now the farmers about here have been getting their moule boards taken off their ploughs at night for a long time but who ever dreamed it was the Kellys and that they would be used for such a purpose.
Neds armour alone weighed 97 pounds. The police thought he was a fiend seeing their rifle bullets were sliding off him like hail. They were firing into him at about 10 yards in the grim light of the morning without the slightest effect. The force of the rifle bullets made him stagger when hit but it was only when they got him on the legs and arms that he reluctantly fell exclaiming as he did so I am done. I am done. [...]
Ned does not at all look like a murderer and Bushranger. He is a very powerful man aged about 27 black hair and beard with a soft mild looking face and eyes. His mouth being the only wicked portion of the face. After his capture he became very tame and conversed freely with those who knew him. Not having the pleasure of his acquaintance I did not speak to him although I should have liked very much to ask why he never stuck up the Bank of Victoria at Oxley. Well he had it down on his programme at one time but a Schoolmaster named Wallace and one who Banks with us put him off it – at least Wallace got the news conveyed through Byrne one of the Gang that he had some deeds and papers here which he did not wish destroyed as it would ruin him. Well Ned said I wont do it and he didnt do it and we were consequently saved from the presence of the Gang.
Poor Ned I was really sorry for him. To see him lying pierced by bullets and still showing no signs of pain. His 3 sisters were there also, Mrs Skillion Kate Kelly and a younger one. Kate was sitting at his head with her arms round his neck while the others were crying in a mournful strain at the state of one who but the night before was the terror of the whole Colony. The night that Byrne and Kelly shot Sherriff at the Woolshed they rode through Oxley on their way to Glenrowan. Some of the people in the Township heard the horses go bye but I didnt being sound asleep.
Byrne was shot in the groin early in the morning as he was drinking a glass of whiskey at the Bar. Then there remained only Dan Kelly and Steve Hart. Whether they shot themselves or whether they were shot by the police will ever remain a mystery. At about 2 PM a policeman named Johnstone whom I knew well at Murchison fired the house and it was only when no signs of life appeared that they rushed the place to find the charred remains of Dan and Steve Hart. They presented a horrible appearance being roasted to a skeleton. Black and grim reminding me of old Knick himself.
Thousands of people thronged to Glenrowan on receipt of the news and not one of the crowd there had the courage to lift the white sheet off the charred remains until I came up and struck a match – it being dark – pulling down the sheet and exposed all that remained of the two daring & murderous Bushrangers.
Dan and Steve are buried in the Greta Cemetery Byrne is buried at Benalla and Ned is now in the Hospital of the Melbourne Gaol treated with every care until he is strong and well enough to be hanged. Such then is Bushranging in Victoria so far.
He closed with a fabulous postscript in which he notes that he’s enclosed some hair plucked from the tail of Ned Kelly’s devoted mare who “followed him all around the trees during the firing. [Ned] said he wouldn’t care for himself if he thought his mare safe.”
Donald Gray Sutherland eventually moved to New South Wales where he died eight years after the shootout at the young age of 36. This exceptional letter has remained in the family until now. They decided to donate it to the State Library of Victoria which has an extensive collection of Ned Kelly-related artifacts, including his armour. Starting Monday, the letter will join the armour on display in the Library’s permanent exhibition, The Changing Face of Victoria.
Detlef von Marburg, Zodiacus Herald, reports that at Their Coronation, Their Majesties Aaron and Nicollet of the Kingdom of Ansteorra chose to offer elevation to the Peerage to three of Their subjects.
Arguably, Hernán Cortés is the most famous - or infamous - of the Spanish explorers. Jessie Szalay, LiveScience Contributor, offers a biographical feature on the conqueror of the Aztec Empire and governor of New Spain.
14,000 individuals -- 10,000 Scots and 4,000 English -- lost their lives in the Battle of Flodden which took place in 1513 in Northumberland, England. Among them was King James IV of Scotland. This year re-enactors and others are marking the 500th anniversary of the history-changing battle. (photo)
A bronze equestrian statue King Charles IV of Spain that stands in Mexico City’s Plaza Manuel Tolsá has been damaged beyond repair by a botched and unauthorized “restoration” ordered by city officials. Cast in 1802 by artist and architect Manuel Tolsá (after whom the plaza is named), the statue is legally designated a historic property and is therefore under the purview of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). By law, any work on the piece must be authorized by INAH but in this case the Historic Center officials didn’t even apply for a permit until after the restoration was already in disastrous progress.
The city contracted one Arturo Javier Marina Othón of Marina Monument Restoration to clean, restore and maintain the bronze and its pedestal. He stated up front that he would only apply a weak 30% solution of nitric acid to clean the surface dirt and pollution, but when INAH experts examined the statue to report on the damage, they found a can of partially used 60% nitric acid on the scaffolding. Nitric acid in that high a concentration just eats through metal. Neither nitric nor any other inorganic acid have been used in restoring metals since the 1950s when conservators finally realized how much damage they cause.
Othón denies having used 60% nitric acid. He insists he only used 30% and that it’s a perfectly cromulent material for cleaning the outer grime layer of a bronze statue. In his opinion, he is being scapegoated to distract the public from the city’s failures to protect its cultural patrimony which could certainly be an element, but at the same time, there’s no denying the fact that the acid very obviously went far deeper than the top grime layer to expose the soft coppery underbelly of the statue.
Analysis of the statue’s dark, almost black patina done in September before the so-called restoration found that it was composed of oxide, carbonates, sulfur and sulfates under a layer of grime. Those compounds are what is known as passive corrosives, meaning they’re stable byproducts of exposure to environmental elements like oxygen, rain, carbon dioxide, sulfur compounds. They don’t damage the metal but rather form layers of protective coating.
Only 35% of the sculpture was directed treated with strong nitric acid, but 50% of it has been damaged by the acid dripping down from the application site. As a result, half of the patina is gone forever and the newly exposed bronze is particularly susceptible to corrosion. The strong acid also dissolved the less stable elements of the bronze creating an alchemical alteration of the material itself. Bronze alloy is made of copper, tin, zinc and lead. The nitric acid attacked the tin and zinc dissolving them and leaving behind shiny pink copper. The acid also pitted the surface, vastly increasing the area susceptible to corrosion. They used metal brushes attached to power tools to polish the metal, which of course did a whole other irreparable number on the bronze. There are patches of melted statue staining the stone pedestal now, runoff from the horse and king’s suppurating acid wounds.
The litany of incompetence doesn’t end there. The site was dirty, with trash and unused iron bars from the scaffolding scattered around. The iron stained the marble base and wooden planks trapped moisture in the area to compound corrosion problems. The scaffolding itself was apparently erected by drunken toddlers who had the brilliant idea of stabilizing the structure by tying a few bars to three of the horse’s legs, one of which already has a large crack in it. Some scaffolding planks were supported by the rump of the horse which puts it in danger of friction damage and further corrosion. It’s amazing the whole crew didn’t wind up in a pile of broken arms and legs.
INAH’s report strongly urges immediate intervention to stabilize the statue and restore it where possible. All conservation plans will be submitted to INAH for prior approval, needless to say, and you can bet they’ll be extra vigilant.
EDIT: I originally wrongly attributed the restoration order to the Historic Center Rescue Trust, a private organization founded by multi-billionaire Carlos Slim that has dedicated $150 dollars and much hard work to the revitalization of Mexico City’s historic center. This was my own erroneous reading of the original Spanish. In fact the restoration order came from city officials. I’ve removed the paragraph where I discussed the Trust and have redirected all references to the real culprit.
I apologize for the mistake. Many thanks to the anonymous commenter who corrected me.