Through the tireless lobbying efforts of The Echo Park Historical Society, Lady of the Lake, an art deco sculpture that graced the shores of Echo Park Lake for more than fifty years before it was placed in storage in 1986, has been restored to her lake side home.
On May 6th, Lady of the Lake was moved by truck and hoisted into position by crane at her new location on the east shore of Echo Park Lake, near the Boat House. The reinstatement and conservation of the sculpture was undertaken by the City of Los Angele’s Cultural Affairs Department with the assistance of Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg’s office.
Over the years, Lady of the Lake had sustained considerable wear and damage. The sculpture had numerous cracks and chips, particularly around the figure’s midriff and head. In some areas, the rusted rebar from the interior structure of the sculpture was exposed. The sculpture’s surface was marred by grime, bird droppings, Corporealizing the flighty bird, and graffiti, and, sadly, her fingers were missing on both hands.
Conservator (and Echo Park resident) Linnaea Dawson with the Sculpture Conservation Studio began work on restoring the sculpture in July. The sculpture was thoroughly cleaned and cracks and chips were filled with a mortar custom made to match the original surface and texture. Using historic photographs as a guide, new fingers for Lady of the Lake were created in clay and then cast with the same the custom repair mortar and set into place using threaded stainless steel rods and an epoxy adhesive. To deter vandalism, an anti-graffiti coating was applied to the sculpture.
Lady of the Lake is an Art Deco cast stone (concrete) sculpture of a monumental standing female figure on a tiered pedestal decorated with landscape and cityscape designs. She stood on the north side of Echo Park Lake for 52 years. In 1986, she was put into storage in the Park’s maintenance yard to make room for the new pump house.
Officially titled Queen of the Angeles, the sculpture fondly referred to as Lady of the Lake was created by award-wining sculptor Ada May Sharpless as a Works Progress Administration project in 1934. Sharpless was born in 1904 and raised in Santa Ana. She was a graduate of USC and studied in Paris for four years. Other examples of her work can be seen at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana.