First thing Monday morning we rolled the Reynolds Room carpet and removed it to the Great Hall ready to be photographed. We are having a replica ‘eyemat’ of the carpet made so that this season visitors will have more access in to the Reynolds Room, but they will walk on the replica not the orignal carpet, which will go in to store for the year.
Once we had unrolled the carpet on top of a sheet of Tyvek we cleaned it and covered it with more Tyvek to keep the dust off of it. Once it has been photographed at the beginning of next month we’ll roll it up again so it can be carried up to the store room.
The rest of the week has been spent cleaning the Billiard Room, Leicester Gallery and Venetian Ambassador’s Bedroom. A part of this stage of the winter clean involves dusting the picture frames. As we clean the frames we thoroughly inspect them and the paintings to update their condition report forms. We use soft pony hair brushes to remove the dust from the fragile gilded frames and direct the dust into the nozzle of the vacuüm as we go, so we are removing the dust and not just displacing it. The surface of the paintings are not cleaned but we do remove any cobwebs or clumpy dust particles using and a softer goat hair brush.
Our most challenging task this week was to carry a Lely portrait of Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland down to the Hall. She has joined a Van Dyck portrait of the Italian artist Sophonisba Anguisciola. They have moved to Hall, which is environmentally controlled, to acclimatise before leaving Knole to go on loan for exhibitions.
Emily, Lucy, Sarah, Melinda and Lisa.