We used innovative 3D scanning technology to conserve and restore this eighteenth century Sèvres figural sculpture.
Known as ‘L’Éducation de l’Amour’ or ‘L’Amour précepteur’, designed by E-M. Falconet, this figural group was produced by Sèvres in 1769. Made from unglazed soft-paste porcelain, it depicts Cupid on a cloud surrounded by four young girls, each of whom is performing an action inspired by the idea of Love.
The figural group had a number of missing elements when we were asked to conserve it. There were only a few small images of the object intact, meaning that replicating the losses by hand-modelling would entail a large amount of guesswork and a resulting lack of accuracy. This raised ethical concerns about the addition of potentially false elements to the original object. The fine detail of the piece also meant that hand- modelling replacements could be very time-consuming.
We chose to use our 3D scanner to make a record of another version of this figural group at Sevres in Paris. From this we could print 3D models of the missing pieces and adhere them to the sculpture.
Finally, the printed elements of the sculpture were tinted with powder pigments to match the object as a whole.