This Gangs of New York Cross prop was a carried by Liam Neeson’s character ‘Priest’ Vallon in Martin Scorsese’s 2002 film. Likely for safety reasons and for ease of movement the top portion of the battle cross was crafted in a soft foam with a metal faux finish. Over the years one of the sides of the Celtic cross had crumbled away to reveal the center support post.
This prop is the perfect example of how restoration can not only help the piece to display better but it can also help preserve the piece for years to come. The missing area weakened all of the surrounding material making leaving the piece untouched a potential risk to its long-term stability. As always, we approached our restoration work in a way that would retain the aged look of the movie prop and as much original movie-used material as possible. We worked with our collector client to find an approach that suited his and our sensibilities. Ultimately, we only repaired and repainted those areas where the structure of the piece was in jeopardy.
One of the arms of the cross was missing the majority of its detailed top skin. Luckily, the remaining pair of arms of the cross were present to help us recreate the missing one. We carefully created a mold using a material that would not damage the prop, capturing the details of one of the existing arms. We used this mold to create a thin skin to help replace the missing surface material. We carefully patched any of the cracked surface, making sure to match the texture of the surrounding material. When repaired areas were in-painted, a process where we only paint the new material and not any of the aged latex skin, the repairs were nearly seamless! The end result saved another bit of Hollywood history!
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