Conservation treatment

A team of conservators from the National Trustís tapestry studio at Blickling Hall, Norfolk, was appointed to undertake work on all three of the Bodleianís tapestry maps, plus on a small set of accompanying fragments. The Worcestershire tapestry was initially cleaned at De Witt in Mechelen (Belgium), before returning to Norfolk for conservation treatment. This was made possible thanks to generous donations from The JP Getty Jnr Charitable Trust,  Clothworkers Company, and a number of private donors. On completion of the Worcestershire tapestry project, the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire maps, and the fragments will be treated in turn.

The conservation treatment of the Worcestershire tapestry included: 

  • Incorporating green fabric as both an infill and a lining, and eventually as full support for the tapestry.
  • A stitched support for the tapestry. The tapestry fragments were positioned and tacked onto the mounting fabric, rolled and put on the frame.
  • On the frame the tapestry was worked in 20cm sections starting at the left hand border, with 24 sections in total. Working methodically through the sections, and using a template we first put in the grid support stitches, then overstitch long or breaking slits using a cotton- covered polyester thread. The combination of these stitches will give a good overall support to the tapestry.
  • Stitching was carried out to secure the holed and damaged edges of the tapestry fragments using either long and short stitch or laid and couched threads. It was colour matched to tone in with the damaged area and provided localised support.
  • Work was carried out to areas of text. The lettering was originally woven in a dark brown wool weft thread which was commonly dyed with an iron mordant. National Trust dyed a range of dark brown wool threads using stable chemical dyes to embroider damaged lettering in order to obtain a clear reading.
  • Turnback of the edges.

The Worcestershire map is currently on display in Blackwell Hall of the Weston Library.

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