Knole, Kent

Inspired by Knole was a £19.8million building and conservation project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to preserve the buildings and collections at Knole and open new spaces to visitors.

We have worked on the continued conservation of two State beds the late 17th-century James II bed and early 17th-century Spangled bed, involving complex treatments of the numerous component parts.

Both these projects were completed in 2018 and are now back on display at the property.

Maria Jordan working on a valance from the Spangled bed, Knole

Bed fit for a king is restored in Norfolk 

In a project lasting more than ten years, two state beds, including one commissioned for King James II, have been conserved in the National Trust’s Textile Conservation Studio in Norfolk.

Conservation of the Spangled Bed

With the fabric dating from 1621, the conservation of the Spangled Bed at Knole is a very delicate operation and is involving many of our conservation team. The bed is made of crimson sateen with applique in cloth of gold, cloth of silver and decorated with metal threads, purls and covered in thousands of gold and silver spangles (similar to sequins). The curtains aslo have a crimson and white damask lining.

The conservation has been a very delicate process, including securing back on all the spangles!

Conservator working on Spangled bed headboard
Conservator working on Spangled bed headboard from Knole
Conservator working on Spangled bed headboard
Conservator examining the rear of the headcloth of the King James II bed prior to removal, at Knole, Kent

Conservation of the James II State bed

The James II bed, one of three state beds at Knole in Kent has a long history. Comissioned in 1688 during the short reign of James II, the bed arrived to furnish the State rooms at Knole in 1701. Dust, dirt, light exposure and relative humidity as well as previous conservation treatment carried out in the 1960s by the Rural Industries Bureau has meant that this 300 year old bed needed urgent and extensive conservation / restoration work to make it through the next 100 years.

As part of the Inspired by Knole project we have also completed other textile conservation treatments.

These have included:

Conservators wet cleaning curtains from Knole
Wet cleaning Knole Kings Room curtains
Conservators wet cleaning curtains from Knole

Treatment to the Caffoy stamped wool velvet curtains and pelmet from the Kings Room at Knole undertaken at the studio.

On Site work at Knole:

Conservators on site at Knole hanging a tapestry

Conservators from The Textile Conservation Studio rehanging tapestries at Knole.

Conservator vacuuming bed at Knole

A conservator from The Textile Conservation Studio carefully vacuuming Lady Betty's bed at Knole.