After polishing the Dining Room silver a few weeks ago, this week the house the house team turned their attention to a deep clean of the rest of the room.
With the help of our conservation volunteers we worked clockwise around the room by roping off different sections as we went. The flat surfaces and carpets of our showrooms are dusted and vacuumed regularly throughout each week whereas those areas which are less easy to access are tackled once a year. For the deep clean of the Dining Room we would be paying special attention to dusting down the dado rails and skirting board, moving out furniture and cabinets to access all areas.
To ensure that any dust from the furniture, fixtures and fittings does not resettle we always dust into an Ergo (a very handy Ghostbuster style backpack vacuum). As we worked around the room each cabinet and desk was moved away from the walls to enable us to open them up and give a thorough clean and check against their condition report forms.
The 12 dining chairs also received a good clean. To do this a hogs-hair brush and ergo was used to reach all the nooks and crannies of the wood, whilst the textile seat pad was vacuumed gently through a piece of gauze.
Here at Polesden Lacey the majority of the collection on display is our own but the beautiful Boulle cabinets fall in the small group of items that are on loan. Boulle were renowned for perfecting the inlaying of brass into tortoiseshell and this 19th century pair was loaned to us from the Phillimore family. It is believed that these cabinets were made for the Marquess of Buckingham at Stowe circa. 1790. The cabinets then passed to relatives Mr, Fortescue and Lady Louisa Fortescue who gifted them to their daughter Harriet. In 1864 Harriet married into the Phillimore family whose descendants would one day loan them to The National Trust.
Moving items are precious as the Boulle cabinets can be daunting but when we saw the dust lurking beneath the move immediately seemed worthwhile!