Paintings and Patron’s

Monday was a busy day for the Conservation Team.  Besides the usual closed day cleaning we had to prepare for a visit from Painting Conservator Melanie Caldwell and host a Patron and Benefactor day. 

First thing this morning we set up some tables in the Leicester Gallery ready to receive the painting from the Spangled Dressing Room, which is too small to have the painting on a table and be worked on.  The portrait of Barbara Villiers isn’t one of our largest paintings but it was still quite heavy!  It took 4 of us to get it down and carry it through.  Melanie was coming to survey the canvas and carry out some in-situ remedial work to stabilise the surface of the canvas and inspect the back of the painting. 

Moving the painting back to the Spangled Dressing Room

 The painting has been requested to go out on loan for an exhibition next year.  The frame and painting are particularly fragile, and the frame especially will need a lot of stabilisation work before it could be removed and transported for exhibition.  If the painting is taken the organisation requesting it will be responsible for the cost of any conservation work.

Getting the portrait the right way up again ready for re-hanging


The rest of morning was spent with 40 Patron and Benefactors* of the National Trust. Our House and Collections Manager and Curator took them on a tour of the show rooms.  Our Project Conservator and I took them up to our store room to show them some hidden treasures.  We also made the trek up the Outer Wicket tower to visit a couple of new rooms we hope to open to visitors in a few years.  Even though it was a bit of a blustery day we made it out on to the roof too!

View of Green Court from the Outer Wicket tower roof

Sarah and Lucy spent the day assisting Melanie, and re-hanging the painting, as well as cleaning the show rooms, doing light plans and carrying out window UV checks, re-waxing floors and probably several other odd jobs! All that and its only Monday!

Treasures from the store room. Coronet from George IV coronation.


A textile lion. Possibly from a bed hanging.


*Supporters who give £1000 or more in a 12 month period are invited to become Benefactors.  Gifts of £25,000 or more entitles supporters to become a Patron. This gift can be cumulative and anything given in the last 10 years will be included.
You can find out more about donating via our website.


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