‘When you’ve done that you can come and do ours…’

… is a phrase that the house team have heard a lot over the last month! What with the Meissen ceramics clean in the Study back in May and the chandelier in the Saloon a couple of weeks ago. The most recent round of Conservation in Action to elicit these comments was the tapestry chair clean last week. We have several tapestry and needle point covered chairs dotted around the showrooms at Polesden. Most of the chairs date for the mid 18th century and are generally in quite good condition – as one visitor observed, “if I’m in that good a condition when I’m 250 years old I’ll be happy,” but some are showing their age a little and all of them need to be treated carefully. With this in mind we worked our way around the house, stanchioning off various areas as we went to allow us to clean the chairs without having to move them too far. This also meant that people could see what we were up to.

Here’s how we got on…

Lizzie, one of our Conservation Interns, working in the West Corridor

First, all the woodwork was brushed with a hogs hair brush to remove any dust; for chairs that were particularly dusty we had a hoover on hand to brush the dust into to prevent it from settling on anything else.

Julie, Conservation Volunteer working in the Servery

Julie, Conservation Volunteer, working in the Servery

After this the tapestry was carefully vacuumed. We put a mesh down over the tapestry to prevent threads being pulled out of the chair by the hoover. The mesh also provided a barrier between the fabric and the hoover nozzle which reduced the friction on the tapestry.

Lizzie (again!) workingin the West Corridor

Lizzie (again!) working in the West Corridor

Once the tapestry had been vacuumed we buffed up the woodwork using a chamois leather.

We checked the condition of all of the chairs as we worked on them to make sure there was no new damage. I’m very pleased to report that all the woodworm holes we found are already accounted for and if I look as good as these two in 250 years…

Two arm chairs, circa 1745

Two armchairs, circa 1745

 …I’ll be happy too!


Claire McQuillan

Conservation Assistant


One thought on “‘When you’ve done that you can come and do ours…’

  1. Pingback: Creating a Picture | Polesden Lacey House Blog

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