Restoration: Broderbrunnen, 1896/2000

 

A monumental fountain was constructed in the old city of St. Gallen at the end of the 19th century to celebrate the inauguration of the drinking water system. August Boesch, a sculptor from Toggenburg, modelled the Broderbrunnen in clay. All the plaster figures were provided with a thin galvanized layer of copper (see Galvanic Technique). This process was considered at the time to be a modern alternative to the expensive and complex process of bronze casting, but it soon became apparent that the thin metal skin provided insufficient protection against weather and other influences.

In order to save the badly damaged and eroded figures, they had to be restored and brought inside (see expert opinion). After extensive examination of the most varied of restoration concepts, the City of St.Gallen decided in 1997 to have the entire ensemble of figures cast in bronze. The new Broderbrunnen was ceremonially inaugurated on April 20, 2000 after three years of work. The cleaned and wax-preserved original figures were transferred to the Historischen Museum St.Gallen on September 18, 2000.

You can find more details in the exposé. We also explain the lost-wax process based on the example of the Broderbrunnen.