Winter Conservation 2014 – Part 1

As soon as the House closes to the public each year, a team of volunteers and specialists start ‘putting the House to bed’ for the winter.

As part of this process, the team closely examine the House and the Collection for wear and tear which has been caused over the year, and assess which items need urgent conservation and restoration. Although the house is presented in the era of the 1950’s, many of the items in the house are much older but even the ‘recent’ additions to the House are now decades old.

putting the house to bed, Garden room. Dec 2012. photo p.fewster. 72dpi

The team start by cleaning and covering everything by hand in the house.  This includes,

  • Pictures – all the pictures are firstly checked, the frames cleaned using pony hair brushes and then covered with acid free tissue paper, that is pinned to still allow air flow but prevents the dust from touching the paintings.  Remember, Charleston is on a working farm, in the chalky airs of the South Downs.

putting the house to bed.M.K's room 3. Nov. 2012. photo p.fewster. 72dpi

  • Ceramics – are all cleaned, wrapped in acid free tissue paper, some are stored away, and some remain in position in the house with their tissue hats making them look very quirky in their own right undercover!

putting the house to bed. studio. 03.11. photo p.fewster. 72dpi

  • Painted Furniture – is again dusted with pony hair brushes, covered with a layer of acid free tissue paper and then dustsheeted and pinned – making sure the covers are neat and to size – our rooms look just as beautiful covered as uncovered. No just throwing over the dustsheets like you see in films of grand houses being put to bed!

putting the house to bed, the spare room. Dec 2012. photo p.fewster. 72dpi

Then the team move onto textiles – which we’ll explore in Part 2 – coming soon…..

For the inside track on what it was like to join this team of volunteers – see our Curatorial interns blog from the Charleston Attic.

Don’t forget that nearly all of this work is done by our specialist teams and volunteers, who dust, clean and mend.  Please support the Charleston Annual Fund in anyway you can which helps us continue this work and maintain many of the smaller items in the House which can be tricky to get individual funding to support – Find out how you can donate here

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