RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia’s plan to remove the Robert E. Lee statue from Richmond’s Monument Avenue, which was unanimously approved by a state review board on Friday, calls for the sculpture to be “partially disassembled” into three sections.
The process would require two phases, one to take down the 13-ton sculpture and another to remove the monument’s pedestal, the conservator selected by the state, B.R. Howard Conservation, said in the plan. The firm writes that based on an on-site inspection, the sculpture can be taken from its base “as a single unit,” but would need to be disassembled to “meet the highway height restrictions” during transport.
“It is believed, based upon recent on-site observation of the monument and the review of written accounts which describe the assembly of the sculpture in 1890, that the bronze sculpture will be separated into three sections, cast base and legs of the horse, the body and head of the horse, and the figure, from the waist up,” the plan states.
Dena Potter, spokeswoman for the state Department of General Services, told 8News Monday that the exact number of cuts required is still not clear and won’t be until the statue is removed from its pedestal.
“Please keep in mind this is the current thinking based on the art conservator’s evaluation of the monument,” Potter said. “Once we remove the statue from the pedestal, we will know whether three cuts will suffice or if fewer or more cuts would be necessary to safely transport the monument to temporary storage.”
Despite the unanimous approval of the plan by the Art and Architectural Review Board, the removal of the monument hinges on whether a Richmond judge rules in favor of William Gregory, a man who has filed two lawsuits seeking to block Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to remove the Lee statue as soon as possible.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.