Skylight Studios has worked extensively with historical associations, museums, universities, municipalities, private collectors, and organizations such as the National Park Service, the Trustees of Reservations, and Historic New England on the replication of original sculptures. At times this is done to preserve a historic piece by moving it indoors and replacing it with an exact replica in the original outdoor location. At other times an exact copy is needed at another venue. We have used our skills and experience to create faithful molds and copies in enduring materials that are suited for the intended location and visually match the original objects.

Selected Projects

Salem Custom House Eagle Reproduction

Built in 1819, this historic building served as offices for the U.S. Custom Service. While American author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked there, he found inspiration for The Scarlet Letter. Today, it is a National Park Service museum that contains exhibits related to its history. The heroic-size wooden eagle on the pediment was carved by Joseph True in 1826. The weathering over time deteriorated the wood, and it was taken down in 2004 to preserve it indoors. Skylight Studios worked with the National Park Service to conserve the original. Afterwards, a silicone rubber mold was fabricated to cast a resin replica that matched the original in every detail. The NPS conservators determined the original colors and gilding that Skylight Studios duplicated in the copy.

Katharine Lane Weems’s Rhinoceros Restoration and Reproductions

Katharine Lane Weems created twin heroic-size rhinoceros sculptures for the entryway of the Bio Labs Building at Harvard University as well as graphic designs of African animals that are carved into the terracotta facade. During the 1980s, Skylight Studios restored all of Weems’s original plaster models for the rhinos and created two bronze copies that are installed at the Zoo Center at the Bronx Zoo and one resin copy which stands in front of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Old State House Restorations and Reproductions

Skylight Studios worked directly with the National Park Service and the historic preservation architects to restore the hundred-year-old antique sculptures and ornaments at the Old State House in Boston in 1911. We also recreated the Simon Willard Clock face and the Massachusetts State Seal which were nonexistent. We worked from archival images in order to ensure the accuracy of the recreated works.

Preservation Society of Newport County Restorations and Reproductions

For decades we have provided restoration and reproduction services to the Preservation Society of Newport County, the steward of the Newport Mansions in Newport, Rhode Island. We have completed a variety of projects, from creating reproductions of figural groups to restoring stone benches. Reproductions are often desired to replace outdoor sculpture that has suffered from damage or deterioration.

Barney Mausoleum Reproductions

Everett Hosmer Barney and his wife and son are buried here. Everett Barney’s wealth came from fabricating weaponry for the Civil War and from his other business endeavors. He located this mausoleum, in what is now Forest Park, near their mansion. He bequeathed his estate and an endowment to Springfield to create a public park. For Skylight Studios’s project, the sculptural elements were restored, molds were fabricated, and the sculptures were reproduced in polyester resin to replace the originals.

Altar Restoration

The altar at St. John’s Church in Worcester, MA was missing several major sculptural elements that had once existed. Using only historic black-and-white photos, Skylight Studios was able to restore the altar to its original beauty in 2010. By resculpting the statues of St. Joseph and Mary, as well as the lambs, scroll and domes, it now looks as it once did almost 100 years ago.

Bacchante and Infant Faun Reproduction

Well-known sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies created this life-size sculpture in the late 19th century and gave it as a gift to the acclaimed architect Charles Follen McKim who had helped him to study abroad. McKim was building the Boston Public Library at the time with his firm, McKim, Mead & White, and offered to donate the sculpture and place it in the future courtyard. However, the Library refused the offer after a public outcry concerning the offensively realistic, nude female, as opposed to the popular idealized figures of the time. The public also disapproved of the depicted bacchante (a follower of the Roman wine god Bacchus) due to the current temperance movement. McKim eventually donated it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fast-forward about a hundred years, and the Boston Public Library and the George B. Henderson Foundation Fund commissioned Skylight Studios to create a reproduction of the sculpture for the courtyard after all. The original sculpture had become so popular that it had been reproduced in several sizes and could be found in the collections of several museums. Skylight Studios used the copy of Bacchante and Infant Faun owned by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston to make a mold and then cast a copy for the Library, appreciated by a new generation. In 2014, we were brought on to restore the sculpture, including refinishing the patina, applying new protective coatings, and cleaning the base.

Frederick Douglass Bust Recreation and Reproduction

In 2019, the Providence Athenaeum in Providence, Rhode Island commissioned Skylight Studios and its sister company, the Caproni Collection, to sculpt a reproduction of the bust of Frederick Douglass by Johnson Mundy held in the collection of the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York. Utilizing the 3D scan file made by the University for public use, we worked with another company to make a print. We fine-tuned the detail in clay, using photographs of the original to make the final model as accurate as possible. Then we made a mold, poured a plaster cast, and patinated the cast to the Athenaeum’s specifications.

U.S.S. Kearsarge Memorial Restoration

The memorial is located in Marine Park in Boston. It consists of an anchor and chain from the U.S.S. Kearsarge atop a concrete base and was dedicated in 1930 to Naval officers of the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. By 2021, the memorial was in disrepair, and the dedication plaque was missing from the base. Skylight Studios and the Department of Conservation and Recreation determined that the anchor and chain should be restored, the concrete base should be replaced with a new granite base, the missing plaque should be recreated as accurately as possible, and a new plaque should be created to note the restoration and rededication of the memorial. The anchor and chain were deinstalled from the base which was demolished, restored off site, and finally installed on site on a granite base with the same design as the original. The plaques were installed on the base as well.

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Object Reproductions

This stone door surround and frieze reproduction was completed in collaboration with Ivan Myjer of Building & Monument Conservation. Myjer conserved the original marble elements so they would be ready for silicon rubber molds. The reproduction was cast in bonded marble. Other objects and ornaments have been replicated at the Gardner in order to preserve the originals, like this amphora and this toad sculpture.

Soldiers and Sailors Civil War Monument Restoration

This monument is located in Attleboro, MA. Three bronze figures adorn a tall, approximately 35-foot-high granite shaft with two wings at its sides. In 2019, work was performed to better secure the Flagbearer statue, recreate the four missing cannonballs in granite, recreate the Sailor statue’s sword in bronze, clean the granite base, remove corrosion from the bronzes, renew the bronzes’ patina, and apply protective coatings of incralac and wax to the bronzes.

St. Mary’s Hall Relief Sculptures Restoration

We participated in the renovation of the historic building at Boston College led by the architectural firm DiMella Shaffer of Boston. We collaborated with McGinley Kalsow & Associates, Inc. of Somerville, MA from 2012 to 2014 on the restoration of the stone exterior by restoring the numerous relief sculptures and ornament.