Saving the world at Charlecote

Damaged antique globes in library at Charlecote Park

Spinning globes... can you resist giving them a whirl and pointing out places you know or the constellations you recognise? But of course, over 200 years of whirling and prodding causes a great deal of damage.

In 2017 we raised very nearly enough through our raffle ticket sales to fund the £10,500-worth of expert repairs needed for the two Bardin globes in the library. They date from around 1800 and one is a terrestrial globe of the world at the time and one is a celestial globe of the stars.

Historic record

The Bardin globes are named for their makers; Wright and Bardin being renowned London globe-makers in the late 18th century. At the time the globes were made Napoleon was marching across Europe and Captain Cook’s discoveries were becoming more widely known – people were starting to take a much greater interest in their place in the world.

We don’t currently know for certain when the globes came to Charlecote but it is possible that they were acquired by George Hammond and Mary Elizabeth Lucy for their newly-built library in the 1830s.

Australia's familiar outline - but in the 18th century it was known as New Holland
Terrestrial Bardin globe in Charlecote library showing New Holland
Australia's familiar outline - but in the 18th century it was known as New Holland

Two centuries of damage

The rotating middle span of each globe has become worn with spinning round. The varnish has become brown and darkened and the colours are no longer as vibrant as they would have been. Historic repairs have caused more problems with glues and additional layers of varnish causing further splits and staining. One of the globes also has an interesting rattle – we think a bag of lead shot inside it for weighting may have split.

Our conservators’ work

The globes need to be lifted out of their stands and the varnish removed so that repairs to the structure and paper covering can be made. The brass stands need to have uneven lacquer and corrosion removed and new decorative brackets need to be made.  Then everything needs to be re-assembled.

Years of wear and tear have destroyed parts of the Atlantic
Damage to terrestrial Bardin globe in Charlecote library
Years of wear and tear have destroyed parts of the Atlantic

Update on the work

In early 2018 the globes were packed up and sent off to our specialist conservators' studio in London (an external conservator approved by the National Trust).

The globes are carefully packed to be sent off to the conservation studio
Charlecote's precious Bardin globes packed to be sent off for vital conservation work
The globes are carefully packed to be sent off to the conservation studio

They will dismantle the gobes and surface-clean everything. The varnish will be removed and the damage (some of it caused by historic restoration) repaired. They'll clean off the corrosion on the brass fittings and relacquer them, make new brackets and - finally - reassemble all the parts.

Just the (raffle) ticket

Did you know that every Special Places raffle ticket you buy at Charlecote is match-funded by the National Trust and your donation is therefore doubled?

We don't always have volunteers available to sell raffle tickets. If you'd like to buy tickets, please ask in the Servants' Hall shop.

Our volunteer raffle ticket sellers are an important part of our volunteer team – we’d love to hear from you if you’d like to join us.

See Charlecote Park's costumed volunteers bring the outbuildings to life on Wednesdays

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