Baddesley Conservation Challenges: Light

To block out UV light

Are you aware that light causes a lot of damage to interiors, particularly organic materials? We are going to create a “light plan” for the house so that we can monitor the amount of light in the rooms and try to limit the damage.

Which window has been covered in perspex?
It's the one on the right!
Which window has been covered in perspex?

We have fitted UV Perspex over all the windows in the house which stops nearly all the UV radiation from coming through. This is great as it causes damage quite quickly. However the radiation from light will still damage the collection, just at a slower rate. This radiation reacts with the structural components of items causing them to break down - silk, for example, literally turns to dust. The beautiful painted and embossed leather which covers the walls in the Chapel can also be badly effected.

Painted, embossed leather adorns the wall of the chapel.
Beautiful, but very delicate
Painted, embossed leather adorns the wall of the chapel.

Do you know your Lux from your Lumen?

Light is measured in units called lux and lumen. Lumen is the concentration of light whilst Lux takes into account the area which is illuminated. In a museum setting typically, highly light sensitive items such as tapestries, leather and watercolours are allowed to be exposed to 50,000 lux hours annually.

Our Parliamentarian leather coat, circa 1645, was reputedly left at Baddesley Clinton during one of the regular visits of the Parliamentarian forces at Warwick. It is currently situated at the top of the stairs and is one of our most light sensitive items.

Our leather coat dates from around 1645
Very light sensitive
Our leather coat dates from around 1645

By creating a “light plan” we will be able to measure and calculate the light falling onto different areas and items in a room during a range of sunny and cloudy days with the blackouts and sun blinds at differing levels. The result being that we will know what levels the blinds need to be pulled to for all levels of sunlight thus ensuring we do not over expose any items or rooms to light. Thus keeping the collections and interiors preserved as well as possible for future generations to enjoy.