Knole, Studio life, Tapestry

A tight squeeze

Installation of three tapestries in the King’s room at Knole 

In March three conservators from the Studio made the journey to Knole in Kent in order to re-hang three tapestries.  The King’s room, Cartoon Gallery and Ballroom were being re-opened to the public in the next few days so our job was to re-hang the tapestries in limited time AND in limited space as there had been a glass viewing box installed in the room creating a 90cm wide corridor where we needed to work.

The three tapestries varied in size from the largest being 6.5 meters long and 3 meters high to the smaller two being around 3 meters in length and 3 meters high.

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The Kings room before the tapestries were hung – picture taken from inside the glass box

Before each re-hang could take place the tapestry needed to be vacuumed; using museum vac’s we worked from one side of the tapestry to the other, unrolling and leaving the tapestry flat.

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Vacuuming the tapestry before rehang 

With the first tapestry to be re-hung, its baton was positioned at the top of the room and we used a scaffold tower to reach it.  The tapestry had been tightly wrapped around a roller and we eased it up towards the scaffolding.  Two people at the top secured the tapestry to the baton while two people at the bottom of the pipe steadied it and moved it along as required.

The other tapestries were hung on batons which were connected to pulley systems. These could be lowered, the tapestry attached and then raised again. The weight of the 6 meters wide tapestry required three people to pull the ropes to raise it into position – it was SO heavy.

Once the tapestries were hung the bed was vacuumed and a table cover was placed back. After that the workmen were left to continue with the glass box and the lighting technician to finish in peace. A successful trip all around!

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The 6m tapestry in position, the glass box and the lighting technicians
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