April 2013

New Picture

‘The Star of Bethlehem (or the Adoration of the Magi); designed by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones 1885 and produced by Morris and Co, 1907.

The tapestry has been requested by Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow as part of the “Pre Raphaelite: Victorian Avant Garde” exhibition 27th May – 30th September 2013.

The tapestry measuring 332.8 cm x 510 cm has hung in the Castle Keep for over 20 years. The tapestry had to be de-installed, cleaned and packed in preparation for the loan. A large space was required where a thorough conservation assessment could be carried out.

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The tapestry is in very good condition with only a few small areas of the silk weft missing from previous pest damage. Both sides of the tapestry required vacuuming. Some repairs were carried out to the lining. A drain pipe covered with acid free tissue paper was used to roll the tapestry. The tapestry was rolled with the image facing outwards. This gives the weave room to expand and does not stress the threads by compressing them. The tapestry was interleaved with acid free tissue as it was rolled to separate the layers so that loose threads do not get caught.

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The tapestry was then wrapped in high density polyethylene sheeting, an inert archival product which is waterproof and has an anti static finish to prevent dust attraction. A custom crate was designed and built by Momart- fine art handlers. The tapestry is held in place at either end with Plastazote ‘gallows’. The crate is lined throughout with dense Plastazote foam to cushion the object from vibration and shocks for its long journey to Moscow.

The Team wishes to thank the many members of staff and the Building services team who volunteered their time to help de-install the tapestry and safely manoeuvre the packed crate through the castle to its temporary store. The team was headed by specialist textile conservator Debbie Phipps, with the help of Alice Forkes, Conservation technician and Volunteer Claire Curry.

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