During the winter clean, work in the Yellow Taffeta bedroom uncovered a number of woolly intruders. Within the fabric of the bed hangings, curtains and dressing table, a worrying amount of woolly bears, the larvae stage of the varied carpet beetle were found. Woolly bears are particularly unwelcome in a mixed collection as organic materials like furniture and textiles are their favourite food.
The area bellow the bed needs to be frequently vacuumed as the adult beetle will lay its eggs under furniture. The larvae thrive in undisturbed areas, so frequent checking, dusting and vacuuming can help to prevent their continued activity. The regular checks for pests involve inspecting all the textiles with a torch and gently disturbing the tassels on the bed hangings and curtains with a soft brush to see if anything is hiding within them. All pest findings are recorded and reported so that levels can be continuously monitored in case of increasing numbers.
The most recent inspection of the textiles in the Yellow Taffeta bedroom fortunately yielded no new woolly bear discoveries. This may be a result of the regular cleaning and checking of the area and we are hoping for a continued absence of larvae throughout spring, the prime egg hatching period for this damaging pest.
Want some handy hints on how to clean your home, using methods tried and tested at National Trust properties? National Trust East have published a post offering just this. Take a look. We also use some of these at Osterley.
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
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