Each material has its own individual brush. Over the course of many years most of the objects will have been subject to various treatments that we wouldn’t use today. Separating the brushes prevents cross contamination. Brushes are used with a small vacuum cleaner so that dust is removed, not just displaced. Handling some objects requires cotton gloves to prevent acidic oils in our hands from having a cumulative effect.
We apply protective wax to some of the furniture and pianos. Exceptions include objects which are lacquered, painted, ebonised or japanned, so that ornamental surfaces aren’t worn away. We avoid any carved details where the wax could get trapped and, over time, crystallise.
Looking after the house
It’s not just the collections that need careful care; the rooms need to be looked after too. Using portable tower scaffolding we’re able to reach the intricate plaster ceilings, delicate curtain pelmets and carefully dismantle and wash the chandeliers.
Our floors also need attention after each busy open season, so every year we give them three coats of protective wax. Because of their age, and to avoid damaging skirting boards, we apply and buff all three coats by hand.