The Merrion Centre mosaics, originally created by Eric Taylor the artist and former Principal of Leeds College of Art (now Leeds Arts University), have been painstakingly restored by National Federation of Terrazzo, Marble and Mosaic Specialists (NFTMMS) member The Mosiac Restoration Company.
According to Federation spokesperson Brian James, “the skills and quality of the craftsmanship required to undertake a task like this can be trusted to NFTMMS members.”
These mosaics had held a central position in Leeds for almost sixty years but due to refurbishment at the Merrion Centre they needed a new home, which Leeds Arts University was able to offer.
“It was an honour to be trusted to undertake the challenging restoration works required,” said Gary Bricknell, Director of The Mosaic Restoration Company. “I believe our experience of similar noteworthy projects and the close relationship and flexibility we were prepared to offer was the main reason we won the contract.”
The restoration work, which was extremely detailed, was all undertaken at The Mosaic Restoration Company’s workshop in Daventry. In addition, for this project, Gary Bricknell’s team were bolstered by two students from the Leeds Arts College who helped out on the restoration programme.
“The original mosaics were beautifully executed by Eric Taylor and it was critical that any missing sections were sympathetically reinstated, explained Gary Bricknell. “To do this we needed to supply colour-matched mosaic materials which we were able to do from salvage stocks and also by importing new glass and ceramic mosaic from Italy and Mexico.”
The Mosaic Restoration Company also worked closely with a local engineering firm to design a structure to which the mosaic could be assembled and restored in the workshop. This included a bespoke transporting and lifting system to move and install the panels which weighed 2-3 tons each.
“The mosaics measured up to 5m x 3m, it was crucial that the panels did not move or twist during our work and during transportation,” said Gary Bricknell. “Now, the three mosaics, which have been erected onto the wall of Leeds Arts University measure an impressive 14 metres wide by 2 metres high, and are clearly visible for the public to enjoy.”
The NFTMMS represents companies which wish to maintain and improve the standards of craftsmanship and technical control on which the industry depends. It includes companies involved in terrazzo, mosaic, marble, granite, limestone and quartz and NFTMMS members freely offer technical advice and assistance with specifications. Visit the website at www.nftmms.co.uk for more details.