Our Conservation Assistants take great care of many of the pieces in the mansion, and are trained in ‘Preventive conservation’ which is all about preventing deterioration of the pieces here. The other form of conservation is ‘remedial’ which basically means that we make slight alterations to help conserve the item – which is what happens with the Gideon Tapestries.
Currently our Assistants are not trained in the cleaning of the delicate fabrics of the canopies. This is where the Trusts conservators come in. Up until this point they have taken the trip up to Hardwick (every three years) for the cleaning of such items. From now on this task will lie with our Conservation Assistants as three of the Trust conservators are going to be here teaching our staff how to take care of and conserve the canopies, which will all be taking place in front of the visitors.
Due to the sheer height of them scaffolding was brought into the High Great Chamber this morning to help. Once the canopies have been cleaned the scaffolding will remain there for the cleaning of the long gallery.
Why now you ask? Well as Hardwick receives more visitors, the mansion needs more cleaning, so it seems a little more cost effective to learn how to do it ourselves rather than have somebody else come in and do the job for us.
The cleaning will begin on one of the canopies below:
The La Pierre Canopy actually made its home at Chatsworth House and now resides here. During renovations of Chatsworth the rather charismatic 6th Duke of Devonshire brought in a new bed for the property, although did not want to get rid of the La Pierre. In an attempt to quite romantically give Hardwick a more Elizabethan feel, the canopy was brought here. Visitors to Hardwick will likely recognize that it now takes pride of place in centre the long gallery which is also home to the famous Gideon tapestries.
The bed in the Cut Velvet room by Thomas Hardy was also brought from Chatsworth and dates back to around 1740. The room itself actually gets its name from the bed which is made up of lovely patterned cut velvet.
To see how the team are getting on follow there Twitter account at: https://twitter.com/NTChaps