Reinstalling the horses

May 11, 2010

Well, last week was pretty exciting.  The armature arrived on Tuesday in small enough bundles to actually be manageable.  On Wed. morning, Harry Gordon, the rigger arrived with 3 helpers, a loaded flatbed truck with boom crane and a very full cargo van.  Unloading took about 2 hours, not helped by a misbehaving freight elevator (thank you, Bill Stebbins for the rescue!).  By the time all the riggers’ equipment was unloaded, Dermot from Ely arrived and began moving the armature parts to the Rotunda, which was closed to the public for the duration.

The riggers built wooden support structures so the segments could be moved safely in the upright position.
C 396, after reinstallation

Over the next three days, all six segments were moved into the Rotunda and placed on their steel support structures.  We had some problems: the armature pieces did not fit together as they were supposed to, and Harry had to grind down some of the steel to prevent wobbling and misalignment.

The hanging bracket for the large central piece of C 396 was just as problematic as we feared it would be but slow and delicate work by our talented riggers finally triumphed.  By late Friday afternoon, the horse reliefs were finally back in the Rotunda and on their new support armature.  Julie and I were extremely happy when we compared the pictures of the newly reinstalled reliefs with their appearance before deinstallation and could see that we’d gotten the pieces at least as well aligned as they’d been previously, while correcting the bad displacements.

I’ve got lots of great photos of the rigging process, which we’ll try to put in as a slide show.