Sphinxes Re-instated at Chiswick House

The lost sphinxes of Chiswick House have been painstakingly recreated so they can once more stand guard at the entrance to the Grade I 18th century Neo-Palladian villa.

The ‘lost’ sphinxes of Chiswick House have been painstakingly recreated so they can once more stand guard at the entrance to the Grade I 18th century Neo-Palladian villa.

An authentic ‘Lost Wax’ casting process has been used to produce the new castings, which have taken 12 weeks to reach this stage.  The process involves creating a negative mould of the sphinx from an existing original cast lead sphinx inside the house.  Molten wax is then poured into the mould, to create a hollow wax copy.  These wax replicas are then ‘invested’ (coated in a hard ceramic mixture) and placed in a kiln.  After two days, the wax melts out and vaporises leaving a hollow form inside the ceramic shell into which the molten lead is then poured. After cooling the ceramic casing is broken away to reveal the new lead casting inside.

The new lead sphinxes have been created and placed on the stone gate piers at Chiswick House, where once two originals stood, commissioned by the first owner, Lord Burlington, when the house was built in the 1720s.  However, after being relocated within the expanding gardens at Chiswick, the originals were removed at the end of the 19th century and are thought to have been taken to Green Park.

Share this

Keep in touch

Sign Up

Follow us