I am just about to restore the painting on the Four Seasons scagliola panels and the season of which most cherubs (and backing material) are missing is Spring. So I have free rein from my client to make it up as I go along, and I am really looking forward to it. The above picture is of a set of four, cast-concrete things that you can buy in the USA for a mere $250, but they are depicted in exactly the same way as my Georgian cherubs, the only difference being that during the Summer and Autumn on my panels, the cherubs are riding a rather reluctant lion which represents Summer coming in, then going out again.
You can tell that the symbolism originated from the Mediterranean from the Summer grapes. Us Northerners only had grapes when the Romans brought them in, and even then they were exclusively white ones. There is no mistaking Winter, though. On my panels, the cherubs huddle around a meagre brazier with their backs to the wind, their thin cloaks blown away from them and exposing their chubby little bodies. Everyone in the Northern Hemisphere knows that feeling.
When I first saw these panels lying broken and neglected on a palette in a warehouse, I made an impassioned plea to the owner to allow me to restore them because I recognised them as being unique one-offs, dating from some time in the late Georgian period. I knew from the start what a challenge they would be to restore, because of their complexity, delicacy and the fact that I had never made scagliola before (see previous post?), but I like a challenge and have blagged my way right through my professional life since I started out.
It is only now, when they are starting to clamour for them to be put up in a prime position on an uneven wall, that I understand how successful the petition to my client actually was.
They have to be slightly better than perfect, I think. EEEK!