Did you know that several tapestries at Hampton Court have been pleated to fit their spaces? One of the perks of being a textile conservator is the opportunity to glimpse into the past. So, imagine our delight when during conservation of one of the eighteenth-century History of Alexander tapestries, we discovered several figures and other details hidden beneath two vertical pleats. These pleats have been in place since the tapestries were installed in the Queens Gallery when they were new; the vibrancy of the original colours was wonderful to see and we wondered if our predecessors, working in the Great Wardrobe nearly 300 years ago, were the last to set eyes on them. Following conservation and documentation photography, the pleats will be re-stitched to preserve these hidden gems for the future.
Kaori Moatung and Christine Housden, textile conservators