Restoring the Cabinet Room at Felbrigg Hall

The Cabinet at Felbrigg Hall

Throughout late 2017 and into 2018, our house team were joined by specialist textile and painting experts to undertake a major conservation project in our Cabinet Room, to clean and restore the original damask wall coverings and carpet, as well as examine the furniture, paintings and collection in detail.

Restoring a room of treasures

The Cabinet Room at Felbrigg Hall is a rare survival of a room designed to display collectables and treasures. William Windham II used this room to show objects acquired during his four year ‘Grand Tour’ to Europe in the 18th century. 

Our house team were joined by specialist textile and painting experts in 2017 and 2018 to undertake a major conservation project to clean and restore the original damask wall coverings and carpet, as well as examine the furniture, paintings and collection in detail.

Take a closer look than ever before to the Cabinet collection and see first-hand the conservation work necessary to look after it.

The Cabinet un-dressed

Paintings and furniture were removed to make way for a deep clean of the fabric of the walls and the carpet. Now this has been completed, the team were able to take a closer look at the paintings. 

Specialist cleaning of the paintings took place in the Cabinet, allowing visitors to see first-hand the importance of our conservation work. Over the 2018 season, we were able to look at all the paintings and hang them one by one as we finish - slowly bringing the decoration of the Cabinet back to life. There is one painting however that never left the room – The Siege of Amoy. This large painting will stay on a specially adapted rack in the Cabinet throughout the season. 

This was an exciting project and a once in a lifetime opportunity to see both the Cabinet and our collection in a new way.


The Cabinet Room un-dressed

Paintings and furniture have been removed from the Cabinet Room at Felbrigg Hall, so that the fabric of the walls and carpet can be cleaned along with specialist conservation of the paintings, as work begins to restore this room of treasures.


30 Nov 17

Carpet deep-clean

Once the room had been cleared, an expert carpet cleaner teamed with the National Trust's Textile Conservation Studio, came to give the Savonnerie carpet a well-deserved clean. The process included using a professional upholstery cleaning tool that sprayed a solution of water and detergent directly into the top fibres to loosen the dirt, whilst at the same time vacuuming up the moisture so the carpet didn’t get soaked through. After rubbing the area dry, you could see the results of the teams hard work instantly, with the original beautiful crimson colours appearing as if by magic, removing centuries worth of dirt, including the soot from the fireplace that hasn’t been used for at least 100 years.

Carpet cleaning

03 Jan 18

Cleaning the ceiling

Before we could clean the damask wallpaper, we needed to clean the ornate plaster ceiling. To do this, we had to devise a plan to clean the ceiling in sections, using special equipment such as plaster brushes and hip-vacs (vacuums that make you feel like a ghost buster)! Even though the plaster ceiling has been there for centuries, some parts have become fragile over time, so we used a gentle sweeping motion to remove the surface layer of dust and sucked it up into our hip-vacs. It took just under a week to clean and by doing so, we can now move onto the wallpaper.

Cabinet ceiling

26 Jan 18

Cleaning the Damask wall-hangings

Together with members of the House Team, Textile Conservation Studio staff were able to clean and repair the damask wall hangings. The hangings themselves date to the 1750s remodel of the room and are made from crimson silk warp and dark pink wool weft. Due to extensive surface dirt as well as mould growth and insect damage, the damask was in urgent need of some attention. Firstly, the damask had to be surface cleaned, using a backpack vacuum cleaner with a large brush extension. Mould staining was then removed with a damp microfiber cloth. The next task was to remove the thick layer of compacted dust from the gold painted fillet along the dado rail. This was carried out by swabbing the fillet with water and cotton buds.

Cleaning the wall hangings
Siege of Amoy

Detective work identifies pirates in Dutch masterpiece at Felbrigg Hall

New research into a painting by Dutch artist Simon de Vlieger, has revealed it depicts a different battle scene to what experts had previously thought.