Orbis were recently commissioned to conserve an iconic latex puppet head from the series Spitting Image. The head dates from 1990 and is an acerbic (but very accurate) likeness of Margaret Thatcher.

The head was in a generally good condition, but the nose had started to degrade around the septum area leading to a collapse to one side. On further investigation multiple tears around the nose had exposed the area to oxygen which had led to the interior of the nose completely degrading to a fine powder.

We removed all the degraded material and then injected the nose with a urethane rubber and bulked latex. To hold the nose in place whilst the rubber cured, we fashioned a little padded device which resembled a tiny boxing glove punching the nose into position. It took many applications of latex to fill the cavity, after which a skin was applied and retouched.

A mount was made to hold the head so that the puppet could be dressed for the exhibition. Once conserved and in her trademark man’s shirt and tie, the puppet looked suitably formidable to retake her place on display.

Margaret Thatcher puppet head
Margaret Thatcher puppet head