A whole year has passed since we began the project here at the Heritage Skills Centre. We all can’t believe how quickly the time has passed. We thought we would tell you how the project is progressing.
We have finished the conservation stitching on two of the tapestries in the set; ‘The Bagpiper and Dancing Dog’ and ‘The Cobbler’ and now have two new tapestries on the frames; ‘The Courting Couple’ and ‘The Falconer’.
Image 1. ‘The Falconer’ tapestry
We have shown you a picture of the courting couple in a previous blog, so here is a picture of the Falconer. If you have visited Doddington Hall recently you may have seen him mounted on a board in the Holly bedroom. Although the tapestry has been wet cleaned with the others in the set it still requires conservation stitching. As you can see the tapestry was at one time almost twice the size it is now but like most of the tapestries in the set it has been cut to fit the room.
We had all become very attached to the cobbler and the bagpiper and his dancing dog at the skills centre that we were sad to see them leave to go back into store at Doddington Hall where they await the next stage. (further work that will enable them to be hung back in the Holly bedroom.)
Before we sent the tapestries back we were able to lay the tapestries out and view their undersides so we could see all our stitching, a full 10 months of work!
Image 2. Here you can see the underside of the cobbler tapestry with our 20 cm scrim lines running the height of the tapestry and all the stitching between each of these lines.
Image 3. Here is a close up of some of the stitching
The next stage is to temporarily hang the tapestries at Doddington Hall in the Holly bedroom to allow them to ‘drop’. As the tapestries, have been through a wash process, then stretched on a frame and stitched, their dimensions have changed slightly. The tapestries therefore need time to relax to enable them to fit back into their original hanging positions, particularly around the mouldings of the fireplace and around the doors and corners of the room like a big jigsaw puzzle! The tapestries will have a further lining applied once they have dropped that will protect them from dust and a means of hanging them attached.
We will use Velcro to hang the tapestries as this is widely used method in tapestry conservation. Velcro allows an even hang and easy adjustment which is particularly important to this scheme as the tapestries have to fit so closely together. We are looking at other methods of hang in particular around the doors and fireplace but just to reassure you metal tacks hammered through the tapestries as they were originally hung is not an option!
Although there is still some way to go before the whole scheme is back in the room, hopefully you will be able to see the first two tapestries hanging for a short time in the Holly bedroom while they relax when Doddington Hall opens for the season in April, watch this space!
For images and weekly updates on the conservation project, follow us on Instagram at conservation_at_doddington.