January 2014

This feather pelerine dated c.1825-35 will form part of the Wonder of Birds exhibition May24th – Sept 14th, Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

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The cape consists of bands of feathers stitched to a cotton backing fabric, the two lappets or extensions are not symmetrically decorated, but the bands come together to form the cape where the lines of colour match all the way around.

The cape is lined with a vegetable fibre padding with a layer of very fine cream silk fabric on top. The silk fabric has split and torn possibly due to wear and use, probably because it was too fragile a fabric for the job it was asked to do.

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The cape has been thoroughly surface cleaned to remove dust and insect cases. The feathers have been secured where necessary and the silk lining has been protected with a layer of fine silk crepeline fabric. This new fabric has been wrapped around the edges of the fragile lining and stitched through to the cotton on the front. The new layer will support the fragile original silk lining and provide a barrier between it and the mount for the exhibition, and make it easier and safer for the curators to handle.

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Here is the pelerine after conservation treatment in a custom made storage box.

To minimize the amount of handling required while preparing a mount for the exhibition, a cotton calico toile (rough replica) has been made, this will be given to the technicians and will be used to check the size of the mount prior to mounting the actual object.

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The Wonder of Birds exhibition is on at Norwich Castle until September 14th.

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