Renovation and reconstruction of the statue of Austria from the Battery of the Dead Monument – Part One

In July 2010, the renovation of the monumental memorial to the Austrian cavalry battery no.7/VIII also known as Battery of the Dead was started. This piece of art was created at the beginning of the 19th century thanks to the architect, sculptor, and the first headmaster of the Vocational Secondary School of Sculpture and Stonework in Hořice, Václav Weinzettl. An allegorical statue of Austria is a part of this high quality sculpture which is registered in the Central List of Cultural Monuments of the Czech Republic.

Austria is represented by a feminine figure in armour, holding a shield with the Austrian double headed eagle in her left hand and a raised laurel wreath in her right hand. This 220 cm high sculpture was, as was the whole memorial for the matter, made of sandstone from Hořice. On July 2, a preliminary renovation research was done, without any direct contact with the statue – no scaffolding or platforms were used. Therefore, it was not fully possible to responsibly define the overall extent of damage to the statue. According to this research and photographic documentation, it was obvious that especially the damaged raised right hand was in serious disrepair. It was evident that the stability of the statue was in immediate danger as indicated by the destroyed shoulder part, numerous cracks on the whole arm, and a grave horizontal crack in the back area. It could be supposed that the part of the head and shoulder would get separated during manipulation with the statue. Concerning the right hand, it was obvious even from far away, that this secondary element was considerably destroyed and of low quality. It was evident, beneath a layer of dust, dirt, and biological grime, that the statue had been renovated at certain point in the past. A preliminary renovation plan was prepared.

Source: Lomy a těžba