The bronze sculpture titled ‘The Slide’, by John Dowie AM, (1977) is located in Rundle Mall, a shopping area in Adelaide, South Australia. It depicts a child in a free-fall position sliding down the inclined face of a sculpted concrete plinth.

The pedestal supporting the sculpture features a wood-grained surface with a recessed panel bearing the inscription: “THE/SLIDE/SCULPTOR/JOHN DOWIE/PRESENTED/ BY/JOHN MARTIN/& CO. LIMITED”. The Chairman, Sir Edward Haywood and Directors of John Martin and Co Pty Ltd gifted the Slide to the City of Adelaide in 1977.

In February 2020, The Slide was graffitied and the City of Adelaide engaged Artlab to repair the damage and rejuvenate the bronze and plinth.

The sculpture was in good structural condition and securely fixed to the plinth however, there was slight movement when hand force was applied to the bronze. Blue coloured graffiti paint was spattered on the surface and in recesses of both elements.

On site, the bronze and plinth received an aqueous, solvent and gel poultice clean, removing dirt, existing wax coating and graffiti. Bare metal spots on the bronze were artificially patinated (coloured) to blend in with the existing patina, followed by a protective wax coating applied to the heated surface of the bronze. The sculpture was stabilised and re-sealed to the plinth.

Conservator cleaning The SlideIan Miles, Senior Metals Conservator aqueous cleaning The Slide in Rundle Mall, Adelaide.

Conservator cleaning The Slide

Conservator heating sculpture to clean surfaceIan Miles, assisted by Andrew Cuch, Conservation Officer, heating the sculpture and applying patination solution.

Conservator applying a solution to the sculptureApplication of patination solution.

Conservator cleaning panelAbby Maxwell-Bowen, Conservation Project Manager, fine cleaning the inscription panel.

Conservator cleaning the plinthBrush cleaning the plinth.

Conservator heating surface of bronzeControlled heating of surfaces prior to application of the new wax coating.

Conservator heating surface of bronzeHeating the sculpture and applying new wax coating.

Conservator applying wax to sculptureBrush application of wax coating.

Back of The Slide sculptureReverse of sculpture after waxing and buffing.

Conservators buffing surface of The SlideFinal buffing to the bronze with bristle brushes.

The Slide after conservation treatmentThe Slide after graffiti removal and maintenance of the bronze and plinth.

John Dowie, The Slide, bronze sculpture, 1977, Rundle Mall, Adelaide, South Australia, City of Adelaide.