Throne Canopy – Conservation Begins

As a conservator, it’s always exciting to get the chance to work on such a unique object. We are given a glimpse into the past: we can see how it was made, how it was put together and might even discover parts that we didn’t expect to be there or find evidence of alterations. Our initial assessment of the throne canopy has thrown up some intriguing finds – stay tuned for more discoveries as the story unfolds!


 But before we get too carried away, it is important at the start of any project to set out some guiding principles for the conservation work. Based on professional standards, these principles ensure continuity and give us something concrete to come back to when we are faced with the inevitable conservation challenges. For this project, we decided on the following objective: to make the throne canopy structurally stable enough to withstand a minimum of 50 years on open display whilst preserving as much of the object’s history as possible. As the throne canopy will not be protected by a case at Kensington Palace, we have the added challenge of protecting it from harm which can occur from a variety of sources such as over exposure to light, pests and dust, and ensure that our visitors can appreciate it as authentically as possible.

We intend for this blog to give you an insight into the work that goes into conserving such a large and complex object. You will learn how we have applied our guiding principles and some of the challenges we face to ensure we preserve this magnificent object for future generations to enjoy.

Assessing the parts of the throne canopy in our studio
Assessing the parts of the throne canopy in our studio

 Nikki Chard, textile conservator

In our next post: introducing the Cloth of State, a makeshift wash bath, and an unexpected hole…

Acquired with the assistance of the Art Fund. Conserved with assistance from Lord Barnby’s Foundation, Idlewild Trust, The Radcliffe Trust, The Leche trust, Broadley Charitable Trust and the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers. We are grateful for their support.

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