Care of Collections: Metal Cleaning

Recently we discovered some erosion in the form of rust on a steel fireplace fender in the library at Osterley Park & House. Please view our short video demonstrating how metal is cleaned according to National Trust conservation standards. More information can be found in the Manual of Housekeeping. Enjoy. Hajira & Kate( Conservation Assistants)

Conservation in Action: Metal Cleaning

‘Rice crispies’ and the Tapestry Room carpet

Two conservation volunteers removing insect casings from the Tapestry Room carpet at Osterley Park House.

Two conservation assistant volunteers working on the Tapestry Room carpet in Osterley Park House (image: Kirsty Brown).

We recently said goodbye to our Assistant House Steward, Kirsty, but before she left, she called on a couple of our trusty volunteers to help with a project to remove some ‘rice crispies’ from the carpet in the Tapestry Room, which took place in front of visitors, as another Conservation in Action event. Continue reading

Lacquer Screen Conservation at Osterley Park House

Thanks to support from the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, over the past three weeks, three important pieces of lacquer furniture from Osterley’s colleciton have been painstakingly conserved by a team of specialists. The items of furniture include an amorial folding screen and two chests.

This has been not only a fantastic and rare opportunity to undertake in-situ conservation work in front of the public, but also a fascinating insight into the unique properties of lacquer and a chance to learn about the main causes of damage and the detailed processes involved in conserving it.

Do come and see the finished results now that the work is complete. The lacquer screen will return to its temporary home in the North Corridor. One of the chests will also return to it’s home in Mrs Child’s Dressing Room. The final chest, normally stored in our Upper Store will be moved to the Jersey Galleries, as part of our ‘Highlights of the Store’ display so that the conservation work can be seen seven days a week! 

To find about a bit more about lacquer conservaiton, click on the links below:

1.) Introduction to Lacquer PDF

2.) Deterioration and Damage PDF

3.) Conservation and Restoration PDF 





Conservation in Action at Osterley Weekend

Hajira preparing for Conservation in Action demonstration at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

Hajira preparing for Conservation in Action demonstration at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

During Osterley Weekend, a few weeks ago, the house team held two demonstrations of Conservation in Action, to highlight some of the work the team do around the house on a regular basis.  If you visited us during this weekend, you may have seen our Assistant House Steward, Kirsty, cleaning fire irons in the Entrance Hall.  Meanwhile, upstairs, in one of our store rooms, the second demonstration caused some trepidation for visitors who were brave enough to venture in. Continue reading

Hidden places and secret spaces

Secret door in Library bookshelf opens to the Library annexe.

The secret door open to the secret passage in the Library at Osterley Park House (image: Laura Brooks)

I don’t know about you but I love to hear about hidden corridors and secret doors in old houses.  The very idea of a priest-hole sends my imagination running wild.  It is one of the things I enjoyed about family holidays and my parents dragging us off to some castle or stately home – the colourful and interesting pasts of these properties, and cleverly concealed doors and corridors that would have been used regularly once upon a time (most likely by the servants).  So, you can imagine my delight when I discovered Osterley had its own hidden and secret spaces that only the staff and volunteers knew about and used.

Now it’s your turn.  You are about to be ushered into the world behind the closed door.  Allow us to introduce you to a couple of our hidden spaces. Continue reading

Van Dyck, Dobson and their Mannerist frames


The Frame Blog have posted on the Van Dyck self-portrait, that has recently been saved for the nation by the National Portrait Gallery, and the Dobson self-portrait that now resides at Osterley, as part of the recent ten year loan from the Earl of Jersey. Both of these portraits once belonged to the the Childs, the family that owned Osterley, having been bought by Francis Child.

Originally posted on The Frame Blog:

Dobson & Van Dyck sm

(left) Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641), Self-portrait, c.1640-41, National Portrait Gallery, London; (right) William Dobson (1611-46), Self-portrait, c.1645, Earldom of Jersey Trust

The vivid self-portrait (left) – painted just before Van Dyck’s early death in 1641, and which has now been acquired for the National Portrait Gallery – is notable not only for its technical skill and immediacy but for its dramatic Mannerist frame. It is also linked, in an intriguing way, to the self-portrait painted by William Dobson in homage (right), which has an almost identical frame. Dobson produced his own portrait around 1645 (he died only five years after Van Dyck, at the even earlier age of 35)[1] and the two paintings were united (probably around 1708), remaining in the same collections until Van Dyck’s Self-portrait was sold in 2009.

Van Dyck Self portrait sm

Van Dyck (1599-1641), Self-portrait, c.1640-41

Van Dyck and Dobson were both precociously gifted artists, who…

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Curious Birds in the Trappings of Trade

Curious Birds at Osterley Park, as part of Trappings of Trade exhibition.

Curious Birds info sign from Trappings of Trade exhibition at Osterley Park in 2013 (image: Laura Brooks)

If you missed last year’s Trappings of Trade exhibition at Osterley, then never fear.  We have been blogging about the exhibition, so you have a chance to get some of the highlights.  Previously, we posted on Paktong and Lacquer (another post on this to come).  The theme of today’s post is ‘Curious Birds.’ Continue reading