Monday was a very exciting day for the Conservation Team. A few posts ago we told you about the Reynolds Room carpet being photographed to produce an eyemat version of the carpet…well on Monday it arrived!
Having a reproduction of the carpet produced will allow us to test how the heatmat we had installed will cope with being walked on by 95,000 pairs of feet each season. From a trial carried out from winter 2011 to winter 2012 the heatmat was able to control the relative humidity levels in the room for the first time. It was the first time this heatmat technology had been used in this situation, so now we want to see how much physical stress it can cope with.
Having the eyemat down instead of the extremely fragile and rare carpet will allow visitors to get closer to the Reynolds portraits in this room for the first time.
We’ve also had eyemats made for the floor in the China Closet and at the top of the Great Stairs.
We have been working on changing the appearance of the China Closet. Historic photos show a fragment of tapestry on the floor. We don’t have the original fragment any more, so instead we photographed a section of one of our other tapestries and had it produced as an eyemat instead.
The floorboard eyemat at the top of the stairs is another experiment to see if it will help to protect our floorboards. Floors in houses aren’t often paid much attention by visitors, but they are the one part of the house that suffer the most wear and tear. The Conservation Team spend many hours throughout the open season re-waxing the floorboards, having applied two wax layers (one by hand) during the winter clean.
We’re really pleased with all our new eyemats. We reckon you won’t be able to tell the difference between the eyemats and the real floorboards and the Reynolds Room carpet. Come along and walk all over them!
Emily, Sarah, Melinda, and Lucy
Find out more about eyemats on their website: