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Wednesday, May 15 • 5:00pm - 5:30pm
(Textiles) It's a Cover Up!: The Use of Japanese Tissue Paper in the Conservation of the Embellished Hangings from the Spangled Bed c.1621

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The conservation of a large complex 17th century bed, hung with exquisite textiles, posed a myriad of challenges for the National Trust’s Textile Conservation Studio when deciding how to conserve these extraordinarily fragile multi-layered and mixed media hangings. The story of the conservation started in 2013, requiring research, innovation and collaboration to deliver the project. The 23 conserved textile elements of the bed were reinstalled at Knole, a National Trust house in Kent, in 2018. The bed was commissioned by Lionel Cranfield, a Mercer by trade, Keeper of the Great Wardrobe and in 1621, Lord High Treasurer to James I. Inventories taken of the contents of his London home, Chelsea House, show that the textiles from the Spangled bed were part of a lying-in suite. The suite consisted of a very large lying-in bed for his second wife, a pallet bed for a midwife and a cradle for their heir. Subsequently, it was inherited by his daughter Frances who had married into the Sackville family in 1637, and it was her son, the 6th Earl of Dorset, who moved the contents of Cranfield’s properties, and this bed, to Knole in 1701 where it is today. As the treatment progressed, it became apparent that the textiles had been radically re-configured into its current form. The decoration on the crimson silk satin comprises appliqué of cloth of silver and cloth of gold, embellishments of silver and silver gilt spangles, purl, silver and gilt metal threads and cords, silver and gold loop edge braids and narrow and deep metal thread fringes. Historically, the environment at Knole had been very poor with large variations in humidity causing deterioration of the textiles. The textile elements of the bed were in urgent need of conservation. They had suffered localised light damage and were heavily soiled and discoloured. The satin and appliqué were much damaged and actively losing the brittle appliqué cloth of silver motifs. This paper will address the treatment of the extraordinarily fragile appliqué and silk satin of the cornices, which were treated using a slightly unconventional approach. Due to the textile being adhered to a wooden substrate, there was no access to treat the textile from the reverse, therefore a treatment from the front had to be devised to stabilise the brittle appliqué and satin. Research and trials with established textile conservation materials and adhesives proved unsatisfactory. However following a visit to and discussions with colleagues at the local record office, where fragile parchment rolls were being faced with transparent Japanese paper, a similar approach was investigated, used in combination with Klucel G (a non-ionic cellulose ether). It proved successful on the cornices and the method was then adapted for the treatment of the headboard, headcloth, coverlet and valances of the Spangled Bed. This approach to the conservation of the Spangled Bed required continual re-evaluation to retain and record extant physical information whilst also making the textiles safe for the next 50-100 years.

avatar for Yoko Hanegreefs

Yoko Hanegreefs

Textile Conservator, National Trust Textile Conservation Studio
Yoko Hanegreefs trained at Royal Academy of Fine Arts (University of Antwerp), followed by a placement at Heritage Malta and starting work at May Berkouwer Textile Conservation in 2013. Yoko first came to the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio to take up the 2 year Levy Internship... Read More →

avatar for Rosamund Weatherall ACR

Rosamund Weatherall ACR

Senior Textile Conservator, Textile Conservation Studio, Malthouse Barn
On completion of the MA in textile Conservation at the Textile Conservation Centre at the University of Southampton in 2006, Rosamund Weatherall joined the National Trust Textile Conservation Studio in Norfolk as an Assistant Textile Conservator. This has given her the opportunity... Read More →

Wednesday May 15, 2019 5:00pm - 5:30pm EDT
Oneida/Penobscot Rooms Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun
  Specialty Session, Textiles
  • Track Textiles
  • Ticketed Included in Main Registration
  • Authors in Publication Order Author: Yoko Hanegreefs, Co-author: Rosamund Weatherall ACR
  • Abstract ID 18579
  • Tags Japanese tissue paper,consolidation,embellished textiles,applique,Seventeenth Century,Spangled Bed,National Trust