Its doors briefly closed, the Presence Chamber at Kensington Palace has reopened with a throne canopy sitting pride of place as you enter the room.
A Fragile Shipment
With the conservation treatment complete, plans began on the task of physically moving the canopy from our studio here at Hampton Court over to Kensington Palace.
To prevent damage in transit we have to think carefully about packing and transportation. Custom-made boxes were used to stop the textiles from shifting around and as far as possible used to keep them flat. This protected them from creasing which could misshape or split the fragile historic material.
It is not easy removing a two-metre-long box from the first floor of a historic building. We somehow managed to navigate some of Hampton Court’s most winding narrow corridors and staircases though and could load all the parts onto a truck for driving to central London.
Putting it all together
Our previous post explains the design of the wooden frame that supports the throne canopy. Before any textiles could be assembled, this first needed to be built in situ. It was then covered with a material called Moistop®, creating a barrier between wood and textile. Almost there and the frame was upholstered with fabric chosen to be a good colour-match to the object. Finally, we were able to complete the installation by adding the centrepiece textiles: see the process for yourself below.
The end! There it is! A three-year conservation project over and a fantastic feat that has been as rewarding as it was ambitious. A big well done to all 50 colleagues and five contractors involved in the project for this wonderful achievement.
By Charlotte Gamper, Senior Textile Conservator