How to restore antique plaster statues

Whether as a seller or a buyer there may come a time when a precious antique plaster statue has an accident. Either due to the cat (choose your domestic animal of choice - in my case it was my dog) or because carriers are not always as careful with their handling of packages as they should be regardless of how well you package it.

Unlike buying massed produced items from Amazon and the like antiques also have the problem of being unique, often expensive and even more often irreplaceable. 

So you have bought the Venus De Milo and it arrives with no arms - what then? Well, perhaps you should have checked whether it was supposed to have arms in the first place - but that is another issue.

As you can see from my shop I have several statues created by wonderful artisans from across France and Europe and I have clients all over the world, particularly in the USA. Here I have access to many skilled artisans who can restore these treasures as they abound in my region but all too often people think the only solution is to throw the broken statue away as they think it is too difficult or too expensive to repair. 

Cue the music for my new found BFF Mr J Lee Turpin of Tuscon Arizona.

Lee Turpin, an Arizona artist, has been repairing chalkware since the 1970’s.  He only started restoring chalkware for other people in the late 1990’s when a neighbour complained he hadn’t been able to find anyone to restore some of his damaged chalkware in his collection at a reasonable price, in a reasonable amount of time, and with quality results.  Can chalkware be restored to its original beauty?  Lee believes it can if enough time and care is spent using the correct reconstruction products and techniques in the restoration of the chalkware.  Lee has a Bachelors Degree with a minor in Art and has repaired over 10,000 pieces of chalkware with top notch results.

Last year I sent a statue of Our Lady Of Pontmain to a client in the USA and it arrived damaged. Obviously the client was heartbroken, particularly as the statue was so rare and so old it would be almost impossible to find another. I contacted Lee at and he agreed to try and restore it. The client carefully wrapped up al the pieces and I arranged for it to be collected and taken to Lee.

To be honest I had no idea how this was going to turn out but I had to try. 

The restoration that Lee did was breathtaking. I would never have know that it had been damaged so badly. Not only did Lee do a wonderful job with the repair but he even managed to keep the statue looking as it should - not new, as that would have been inappropriate, but just right. 

I am so pleased to have found Lee and if you visit his website you see from his examples that, not only is he brilliant, but he is also very reasonably priced. What is particularly good is that he shows you up front examples of his work and what he charged to complete the restoration.

Vincent Montefusco

27th September 2019