Clean, pack, move…

…and four days later two show rooms are cleared of their contents.  It sounds like three easy steps, but nothing is ever that easy at Knole.  Packing away Lady Betty’s Bedroom and Sitting Room for the next stage of the external building work required a lot of planning, overcoming logistics and weather issues and some hard work from staff and volunteers.

For the internal dust protection to be installed it was decided it would be easier to remove all the contents to store, as there is no space elsewhere in the show rooms to store the objects.  Both rooms will remain closed to visitors now until the end of the season.  As they are two of the smallest rooms on the visitor route it would not have been feasible to install the protection and maintain visitor access safely.

Dust screen in the window of Lady Betty’s Sitting Room.

Inside this box is Lady Betty’s bed. It was much simpler to leave it in-situ than dismantling it and finding space to store the parts.

By boxing in the Lady Betty’s bed to protect it in-situ we risk creating a micro climate inside the box and the levels of relative humidity could be increase beyond what the materials of the bed are used to.  Therefore we are monitoring the environment inside the box with a relative humidity and temperature sensor.  The sensor sends regular readings back to our computer so we can track the conditions over a 24 hour period.  Should the levels of relative humidity remain consistently too high we can open hatches in the box to get some air through and allow the additional moisture to dry out.

Environmental monitoring equipment inside Lady Betty’s bed box.

Lady Betty’s bed before being boxed in. The plain wood of the walls is now visible as we have removed the two tapestries.

So what did we have to do pack away all the objects…?

Every object being moved to the store room was cleaned and condition checked.  It is important that we make an accurate assessment and record of the condition of each object before we move it so that we can determine if any damage occurs during the moving process or while the objects are in store.  Of course when handling objects we are always extremely careful, but carrying them out of the house, across two courtyards and up over 40 stairs to the store room does carry some risk of potential minor damage.  However the risk of moving them to store is considered to be a much smaller than leaving them in-stiu during the building work.

One of out volunteers cleans and condition checks one of the chairs from Lady Betty’s Bedroom.

Sarah and volunteer Lisa cover one of the cleaned chairs, after photographing and updating its condition report form.

Every object was also photographed before having their dust covers put on.  At the end of each day we carried the collection up to the temporary store room.

The Conservation Team working very hard. Lucy updates object condition reports on the laptop.

Sarah, Melinda and volunteers Zena and Jo clean 2 of the 30+ paintings from Lady Betty’s Sitting Room and Bedroom.

The smaller and medium sized paintings are carried and stored in crates. The bottom of the crate is padded out with plastazote (a high density inert foam), then each painting is interleaved with plastazote. The paintings are placed in the crate back to back or face to face. Acid free tissue paper and bubble wrap are used to fill voids in the crates and limit movement of the paintings during the journey to the store room.

Paintings on the move!

Happy smiley Conservation Assistants.

Just a few stairs to climb!

After four stools, six chairs, one table and many many paintings we then had two tapestries and a carpet to role!  Here is a time lapse video of the four days work to pack away all the contents: Packing away Lady Betty’s Rooms

A massive thank you to our volunteers Sam, Zena, Lisa and Jo for their help, we couldn’t of done it without you!

Emily, Melinda, Lucy and Sarah




4 thoughts on “Clean, pack, move…

  1. Pingback: October – November | Inspired by Knole

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