Blenheim Tapestries get a £30,000 clean
24th August 2015 by Loren Robertson
Work has begun to clean and restore a 300-year-old tapestry hung at Blenheim Palace. The Brabant Tapestry, a series of 9 tapestry panels, has been sent from the Oxfordshire stately home to a specialist cleaning facility in Belgium. Further conservation work will take place in the UK over the next year, at a cost of £30,000. The tapestry was commissioned by the 1st Duke of Marlborough to commemorate the War of Spanish Succession.
Originally woven in Belgium during the 18th Century, the tapestries have returned to be restored and cleaned over a period of time that could take as long as 12 months. Although well preserved, the tapestry is showing the effects of abrasive dust and dirt which can accumulate among the threads, obscuring the designs and causing damage. The process involves specialist washing to remove dirt from their delicate threads.
Specialist tapestry conservator Emma Telford travelled from her studio in Hereford to Belgium with the tapestries. Once they have been deep cleaned, they will return to Hereford where Emma will remove the press studs replacing them with Velcro fastenings and re-align any tapestry threads that may have moved due to stress from hanging on the wall for so many years. The Velcro method of hanging allows the tapestries to be quickly removed in the event of a fire or a water leak.
Melodie Mannes, spokeswoman for Blenheim Palace said, 'The tapestries are under considerable stress simply hanging on the wall supporting their own immense weight.'
During the restoration process, a short before and after video is going to be made showing the painstaking project being carried out.
Blenheim Palace is a short 10 mile drive from Hines of Oxford showrooms taking just 20 minutes. Visit www.blenheimpalace.com to find out more about the Palace and its beautiful parks and the rich history connected with famous people such as Winston Churchill and more recently the Spencer-Churchill family.