Queen Victoria is being given a much-needed deep clean - or at least her statue is anyway.
The famous marble sculpture which greets visitors to Kensington Palace , her childhood home, is undergoing a thorough three-week wash which will see it restored to its refulgent best.
The statue was designed and carved by the Queen’s fourth daughter Princess Louise, a talented artist, and commissioned in 1887 to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. It bears a close likeness to the coronation portrait painted by Sir George Hayter in 1837, and has stood on its spot outside the palace since it was first unveiled by Queen Victoria herself on June 28 1893.
The cleaning project is being undertaken by specialist stone conservation company Taylor Pearce and will see the removal of surface dust, grime, algae, bird droppings and pollution deposits from the statue.
The Portland stone pedestal and paving are also being steam cleaned and the bronze plaque will be washed, waxed and buffed.
Once cleaning is complete, a lime-based shelter coat will be applied to the vulnerable marble surface to protect it from weather and pollution.
The statue was nearly destroyed during the Second World War when a German bomb blew off the tip of Queen Victoria’s nose. This was replaced in 1952 for the accession of HM Queen Elizabeth II.