Conserving Lampshades from the Argory
Occasionally conservation treatment is just not viable. These lampshades from The Argory have had new silk shades with conservation treatment to the original beaded fringe.
The Argory in Northern Ireland, complete with its acetylene gas installation and light fittings, is an exceptionally rare survivor of a form of domestic lighting that enjoyed a period of popularity from the last decade of the nineteenth century until the late 1920s.
The drawing room has a six-arm chandelier and four matching two-arm wall brackets. All fourteen shades are made of delicate shades of pink silk and a glass-bead fringe.
The shades however are in very poor condition. The weight of the glass beads, as well as previous unstable fluctuating environments, have seen the fine silk fade, shred and deteriorate.
Realizing the lampshades were nearing the end of their natural lives, and that as much as possible had been done to preserve the silk, it was decided to replace the original silk with a new silk that is in keeping with the original.
Of the 14 lampshades, we have now completed 8. The other 6 will be worked on next year. The conservation work on each lampshade totals around 40 hours.