Goddess of Liberty 

The Texas Capitol Building

HISTORIC OVERVIEW

Texas State Capitol Building The Texas Capitol building is an excellent example of late 19th century Renaissance Revival architecture, which was based on the designs of Italian structures of the 15th century. It took 7 years to complete and was finished in 1888. It is the tallest capital building in the states, standing at 310' tall, and is only smaller in terms of square feet to the National Capitol in D.C.

 

The Goddess of Liberty stood nearly 16' tall, and weight approximately 2000 lbs, and held a gilded star above her head. She was cast in 80 separate zinc pieces, welded together, and coated with multiple applications of white paint containing sand to simulate a stone appearance. She was then hoisted up into position and securely fastened to cap the top of dome.


PRE-TREATMENT CONDITION

Deterioration of Gilding on StarB.R. Howard & Associates Inc. was contracted by the Texas State Preservation Board to provide a condition examination report of the Goddess of Liberty as well as the bronze monuments located on the grounds surrounding the capitol building. This would serve as a guideline to address the conservation needs of the sculptures.

 

The dome was surrounded by scaffolding to make necessary repairs to the structure. The original Goddess of liberty was removed in 1986, and is currently displayed inside the Capitol. She was replaced by a lighter cast aluminum sculpture, which now sits atop the dome. The aluminum replica was constantly exposed to the Texas heat and the elements, and therefore large amounts of biological growth had formed over the sculpture. Some of the paint had completely deteriorated, and that which remained was severely oxidized. Only remnants of the gilding on the star remained.

TREATMENT

Deteriorating FinishB.R. Howard & Associates Inc. extensively photo documented both the original Goddess of Liberty and the aluminum reproduction using a high-resolution 35mm SLR camera. A detailed condition assessment was generated, along with a guideline for specified treatment. Our firm also provided hands on training for the maintenance crew to perform annually so the conservation needs would be reduced. A digital and hard copy report was given to the Texas State Preservation Board.