Small is beautiful: Conservation of objects from two dolls houses


We are currently undertaking a joint project between the Textile Conservation Studio, in Norfolk and the Decorative Arts Conservation Studio at Knole to treat and conserve the interior contents from the 18th century dolls houses at Uppark and Nostell Priory.

These projects have been funded by the Wolfson Foundation, the National Trust and by public support including Friends of Nostell and NT centres and associations

Follow our conservation journey below

Latest updates

07 Feb 20

Treatment of alabaster plates

Felicity, at the Decorative Arts Conservation Studio as Knole, has begun treatment on the alabaster ‘porcelain’ dolls house pieces that include two decorative plates that had broken into a few fragments. The alabaster dishes are small and very porous, so they are fragile to handle. The dishes have been applied with decorative paper motifs of figures and flowers that have been attached to the surface with a coating of varnish. This technique is known as decoupage. The dishes had been previously repaired, and the paper is loose along the break edges of the fragments. Felicity is performing cleaning tests using a microscope under high magnification to avoid contact with the delicate paper whist she removes the remains of the old glue.

Two Alabaster plates from Nostell Priory Baby House before conservation

03 Feb 20

Cleaning the 'Best Bed' from Uppark

Terri has been cleaning the wonderful 'Best Bed' from the Uppark Dolls House. These beds have all the elements of a full size bed, including tester, valances, curtains head board and head cloth. This bed has previously been treated by Lady Meade-Fetherstonhaugh and shows her original couching. We will not be removing this as this is part of the story of the bed and Uppark.

Textile Conservator cleaning the curtains on the Uppark Dolls house best bed

28 Jan 20

Working on the furniture

We have had our colleague, Felicity, from the Decorative Arts Studio at Knole here to work on the furniture from the Nostell Baby House. Felicity has been carefully documenting all the chairs and furniture and has cleaned and treated them in preparation for their return to Nostell.

Objects Conservator working on the furniture from Nostell Baby House