Anglesey Abbey, in Cambridgeshire, the historic home of the Fairhavens, and now a National Trust property, requested several items of women’s wear and accessories for a temporary display in summer 2019.
The items originally belonged to the first Lady Fairhaven, Cara Leland Broughton and were donated to Norfolk Museums Service by her grandson in 1971.The objects chosen all dated from the early 20thcentury and included a tea gown made with metal thread and silk woven fabric trimmed with metal thread lace, with colours very evocative of the roaring twenties, and also an evening coat of heavy lilac silk damask and silver thread.
Our conservation work involved stabilising the deteriorating silk fabric of the facings and supporting the fragile metal thread lace around the neckline of the tea gown. The evening coat had suffered from the common problem of perspiration, which unfortunately reacts chemically with the silk fibres and causes staining and ultimately loss of fabric. Both items of clothing also required mannequins padded to size and shape with supportive underpinnings. The evening coat in particular, had large gigot sleeves which needed support to prevent them collapsing over the exhibition timespan.
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