Conservation in action: ceramics

Here at Penrhyn Castle, we value our extensive collection, which includes many pieces of ornate ceramics. Our ceramics range from renowned Wedgewood, to Minton.

The cleaning of our ceramics is a process that usually happens annually, however regular checks and a light dusting are done throughout the season. We are very conscious of the environment of our ceramic collections. The pieces we have in our Dry and Dairy larder, are exposed to damp conditions, so require a thorough inspection; whilst those in the Dining Room are near the public route, so collect more dust than usual.

Gently does it

The method of cleaning ceramics is dependent on the condition of the piece. We begin by noting down any new signs of deterioration for our records. The first stage of cleaning would be to lightly dust the surface areas of the piece with a pony hair brush. This is a soft brush, that won’t cause any scratching to the ceramic. Once the layer of dust has been removed from the piece, it is important to look out for any intricate areas that a brush won’t reach. To overcome this, we use a cotton wool bud that has been slightly dampened, and delicately clean those difficult areas.

Due to the vast number of ceramic pieces, the annual cleaning of ceramics is known to take some time. However lengthy the process may be, it is necessary to take care in the handling and cleaning of this precious collection.

Kain, one of our conservation assistants, carefully cleans a tureen lid
Cotton buds are used to gently clean ceramic pieces
Kain, one of our conservation assistants, carefully cleans a tureen lid

See us in action

The House team at Penrhyn Castle are passionate believers in bringing our work to the forefront in the public eye. We hope to conduct more ‘Conservation in Action’ sessions for the visitors, to educate and inspire you on the hard work undertaken by us. Despite deep cleaning our collection on an annual basis, we have many daily, weekly and monthly tasks to do in the meantime. The House Team at Penrhyn are always happy to be questioned on their work, if you happen to see us during your visit. We hope that by witnessing the care that goes into our collections, you will have a greater appreciation for the places that you love. Our core purpose for our work, is to provide care for these places, forever, for everyone.