Greyfriars Bobby statue’s worn nose to be repaired

Preservation experts will give Greyfriars Bobby's nose a touch-up. Picture: Jon Savage

Preservation experts will give Greyfriars Bobby's nose a touch-up. Picture: Jon Savage

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ONE of the Capital’s most famous figures, Greyfriars Bobby, is in line for a much-needed nose job thanks to the efforts of brassed-off city 
campaigners.

Following a drive to stop people rubbing the nose of the renowned statue, specialists are to be drafted in to retouch the prized pooch’s snout.

The figure of Scotland’s most famous dog, which sits proudly on George IV Bridge, is to receive a new coat of wax after an online campaign highlighted how the practice of rubbing it for luck was wearing the colour off his nose.

Bobby’s honoured hooter will be heated using blowtorches before protective layers of wax are reapplied to restore him to prime condition.

The Evening News reported last month how concerned residents had started a Facebook page titled Stop People Rubbing Greyfriars Bobby’s Nose It is NOT a Tradition, which quickly gained more than 600 supporters.

The world-famous Skye terrier’s statue had begun to show signs of wear and tear after being prodded thousands of times.

Bronze sculpture conservation and restoration company Powderhall Bronze will begin work today to clean, re-patinate and wax his nose to restore the black that has been lost over time.

Announcing the work, Councillor Richard Lewis, the city’s culture and sport convener, said: “Although Bobby has never been in any immediate danger, it was highlighted to us that the practice of rubbing his nose was starting to make him look a little scruffy.

“As one of the most famous – and most popular – statues in the Capital, it’s only right that he looks his best at all times.

“Once we became aware of the local concern it was clear that we had to act, and I’m delighted we’ve been able to get specialists in to restore Greyfriars Bobby to his former glory.”

Becky Thomson, who started the Facebook campaign, has welcomed the council’s action.

She said: “This campaign started out as a bit of fun, and I was amazed by how many people supported the page.

“We discussed ways we could address the problem as ordinary members of the public – by asking tour guides to discourage it or maybe using anti-climb paint. Given that this is a world-famous statue in a world heritage site it makes sense the council are involved.

“Now it is up to anybody who is passing just to keep an eye open and politely ask people to keep their paws off 
Bobby’s nose so it doesn’t happen again.”

BUFFING UP RENOWNED BARKER

WORK to be undertaken on the famed statue entails thorough cleaning using a mild detergent before being heated with a blowtorch to restore the colour.

The bronze is heated to a temperature that is sufficient for the chemical solution to sizzle when applied with a brush. Colour is gradually built up by alternately heating small areas of the bronze sculpture with the oxidising flame and then applying the solution to the heated area.

Once this is completed, a microcrystalline wax is applied while the bronze is still warm. The wax is brushed on to the surface of the sculpture ensuring no brush marks are visible.

After this initial waxing is cooled and buffed, a further two coats of wax will be applied.