Textile conservation on the State Bed at Clandon

Cleaning the State Bed at Clandon Park

In March 2016 we were finally able to reach the State Bed at Clandon Park and carry out a complex salvage operation. Now we’re continuing our work on the bed with the beginning of the cleaning process. In the video below specialist textile conservator Christobel Sambrook of Zenzie Tinker Textile Conservation, tells us about the work that she’s been doing.

Since we rescued the State Bed all the individual elements have been laid out in a well ventilated space to air dry naturally. Individual elements dry at different rates but we’ve already been able to start cleaning work on some of the textiles.
Careful cleaning carried out with soft brushes and a low powered vacuum
Cleaning the State Bed at Clandon Park

We’ve begun with the surface cleaning of the headboard and sections of grandly embellished textiles. The headboard has suffered less damage than other parts of the bed, perhaps because it was vertical during the fire and against the wall. Using soft brushes and a conservation vacuum cleaner with low powered suction we’ve begun to remove dust, ash and other fire deposits. 
 
The headboard is covered in delicate gold silk satin. On top of that are several different widths of braid and passementerie embellished with elaborate red, yellow and metal square decorative elements, which give the headboard its air of grandeur. This passementerie is representative of some of the most complex and decorative areas on the whole bed and would’ve been hugely expensive to make.
We have a team of specialist conservation staff dedicated to this task
Cleaning the State Bed at Clandon Park

Cleaning the textiles from the State Bed, when they’re already so fragile, can be quite a challenge and very labour intensive. We are fortunate to have a team of dedicated conservation staff who are working meticulously to remove the ash and debris, under the guidance of our Project Conservator Samantha Taylor and textile conservation expert Christobel.
 
Considering that the bed has been through a fire, it’s remarkable that anything has survived at all. It is wonderful to be able to begin the work of conserving and saving these sumptuous pieces of historic textiles.
Video

State Bed textile conservation

Hear from specialist textile conservator Christobel Sambrook of Zenzie Tinker Textile Conservation, about the delicate work she's doing on the extraordinarily decorative textiles that make up Clandon Park's State Bed.