The history and philosophy of Textile Conservation and the people who pioneered the concepts and ethical considerations in Britain and elsewhere
The first lecture will introduce you to the structure of the course and to what we hope to achieve, and give a brief history of textile conservation with its particular ethics and the principles to which we work.
The First Year or Basic Course is designed to provide the key for understanding the terminology of the 3 aspects with which the preservation of historic textiles are mostly concerned.
- Their cultural and artistic significance
- The Technology underlying their production
- Conservation Science
This year is the preliminary basis to all the work done at the Textile Conservation Centre. It is the first year of the Three Year Course in textile conservation given in conjunction with the Courtauld Institute of Art.
The field of Textile Conservation is very complex and you may not immediately understand the significance or relevance of certain areas of the course, but I trust that it will all become clear to you – if not before, then at the end of the course. Meanwhile just try to absorb it all as we go along.
The Course is put together to support the points of view from which we are working, namely that the conservation of historic textiles includes the preservation of their cultural and technological significance, as historic documents.
In order to widen everyone’s knowledge and experience as much as possible in the relatively short time you are here, I expect you to observe and generally take an interest in all the work being done at the TCC. In fact, you should be as closely aware of the work done by your fellow students as you are of your own work.
As a paid occupation the care of valuable textiles probably began with the maintenance of tapestries which appear to have been an aftersales service supplied by the workrooms where the tapestries were woven.
It is known, that the black and brown areas and outlines on Gothic tapestries were sometimes rewoven several times, because they fell out as a result of the dyeing methods with which dark colours were produced – some of the aids to dyeing with natural dyestuffs tend to oxidise and destroy fibres, sometimes in a very short time (less than 20 years).
It is not likely that any repair work would have been very profitable; the main reason for offering the service may well have been for the possibility of selling more sets of tapestries to already established customers.
The possibility of future sales has probably been the motivation behind most of the repair work undertaken by people engaged in the buying and selling of tapestries and carpets.
The standard of earlier repair or restoration work varies a great deal; sometimes it may be very skilful, but often it is indifferent, if not actually disfiguring – depending on the supply of skilled people at any one time and on the standards of those prepared to do what was mostly fairly badly paid work.
Some owners of tapestries kept their own maintenance staff.
From accounts kept at Royal Palaces, we know that they often contained workshops for keeping furnishing in repair. Accounts also show purchases of silk to be used for tapestry repair.
In 1908 they formed an enterprise called PIETAS, for the purpose, I quote, of “Saving the textile treasure of the country, through competent conservation – restoration practised under scholarly control”.
This was the beginning of the Textile Department of Riksantikvarieämbetet in Stockholm, where records of all conservation done there have been kept since the 1920s. This was the beginning of establishing Textile Conservation as a profession and of establishing close links between the various groups of people who work on preserving our cultural heritage.
Conservators everywhere have the same aims, but as a profession we tend to become absorbed in whatever objects or purpose form the theme of the collections we work for, and we sometimes find it difficult to understand that a different theme may need different consideration.
Shared knowledge and understanding usually form the basis for any co-operation between people or groups of people, and it would benefit our profession as a whole for conservators to work in close contact with each other as well as with their scientists and curators.
We generally need to be aware of how the limitations of the individual’s knowledge affect the co-operation of any group, and to make determined efforts to define which fields should be the responsibility of the conservator, the scientist and the curator.
The Curator, as the title implies, is the person invested with the responsibility for the objects in his or her care and is often a historian with specialist knowledge – not only of a particular collection but of the field as a whole.
The responsibility for historical research and documentation traditionally falls to the Historian, but the reliability of some of this work may depend on the powers of observation and the knowledge and experience of the conservator, who should be familiar with the history of textile technology as well as with the technology of conservation and conservation science.
For this the conservator may depend on how well he or she understands the conservation scientists, whose advice may be given from a background of advanced scientific research.
It is not always possible for a scientist to transcribe scientific findings into terms understandable to a non-scientist, nor for a scientist readily to understand the conservator’s problems. Developing this understanding takes time and close collaboration on all aspects of conservation.
Research depends on the quality of the documentation, records and experience underpinning it, and on the knowledge with which the various strands of information is evaluated.
Knowledge of the history of art and textile technology helps us to recognise the techniques and the stage in the technological progress that has shaped or styled a particular object.
We should, however, keep in mind that though creative people of any era or philosophy may be known by their particular, distinctive style, they are influenced not only by the ideas of their time, but also by the sort of materials and equipment available to them in their particular circumstances – which include how prevailing economic conditions and restrictions affect their patrons.
Even so, the main concern of artists and craftsmen at any time will have been to express their ideas of how things should look; and artists and craftsmen are likely to make use of any material or tool that comes to hand, and that will enable them to shape a particular object.
Ideas change. Art and science progresses all the time, but one undeniable fact remains, and that is that conservation is concerned with enabling future generations to study and enjoy the objects being conserved.
If – by choosing the wrong materials or techniques – we close the doors that lead us back into history our work will have failed.
When an object is irreplaceable – and every historic textile is that, whether it is a well-known and documented object from a museum or a privately owned heirloom – there should be no mistakes, because there are no second chances.
However, nothing and no-one is infallible and therefore all our methods should as far as possible be reversible and all new materials should be harmless in order that no clue be destroyed which future historians and scientists might make use of.
An attempt to define the ethics governing the safe approach of our work was made at a conference in Switzerland in 1971 at the Abegg Stiftung.
The papers are available for you to read and I suggest that you pay particular attention to the resolutions because they state in a nutshell how we work here.
All participants have unanimously decided that:
“The conservation of textile objects must be reversible, not only for the present but also for the future.
The methods and materials used for conservation should be the least harmful for the original textile materials and objects.
According to the condition of the textile materials, the most suitable method of conservation must be considered; this means:
No conservation method will be applied that is not absolutely necessary.
When a textile object is in such a condition that a method for conservation has to be applied, a SEWING TECHNIQUE has priority.
When the textile material is in such a condition that no sewing technique will be satisfactory to ensure the preservation, the application of an adhesive method has to be considered; in this case a method that does not involve partial or total impregnation is preferable. It has to be considered that in the case of modern plastic materials and adhesives, we have limited experience only.
Whatever conservation method may be used, in all cases no more must be done or used than is necessary for the preservation of the textile or object.
Complete detailed documentation must be recorded at each stage of the work and maintained for future reference”.
Whatever we can suggest as a method, we must try and foresee all the possible hazards and whether they can be overcome.
Some possibilities we will discard at once as being too dangerous to the textile, but others may seem suitable until further thought reveals a risk it would be unwise to take.
This THINKING TIME is working time and is always necessary, although increasing experience will, of course, give extra knowledge which will cut it down.
It helps to have the object in view while doing other work so that it is in one’s mind for as long as possible for observation and consultation.
Once a decision is taken on what appears to be the best course of action, work may begin, one step at a time, testing and being prepared to stop and change direction should that prove necessary, and always proceeding with great caution.
For instance, it might be decided that, on all the evidence, a textile should wash successfully. It will not follow that, because other apparently similar objects have been successfully washed, this will always be the case.
If there is doubt it is always better to compromise rather than risk the chance of destroying something irreplaceable. Better a not-so-clean textile than no textile at all, or one so badly disintegrated as to be incomprehensible.
Always be ready to stop using a treatment that
- seems to be causing damage or
- is not doing what one hoped it would
If the stain is not removed by the application of a safe method, then leave it. Anything stronger would at best result in damage to the surrounding fibres. Better a stain than a hole and a chain reaction of further damage.
Once a safe and suitable method of conservation has been decided upon, the work may be a matter of routine. Here another aspect of the technique of a good textile conservator comes into play. This is the ability to maintain a high standard of work over sometimes quite lengthy periods of time.
Just as experience will decide what is just enough stitching to make the object safe and whole and visually acceptable, so one learns how much time one can spend at each sitting to be doing really good work, all the time, without undue mental or physical fatigue. This obviously varies from person to person but it is always a good idea to be able to pace oneself to make the best use of one’s time.
At the TCC, when an object is finished, a description of the processes and the materials used for its conservation is prepared from the notes made during the work and submitted to the Head of the Department. Good descriptions facilitate a proper understanding of any changes arising from our treatment – whether positive or negative.
It should be kept in mind that the fact that we work on objects from so many sources make our observations particularly valuable.
Museums are naturally more concerned with objects that are kept in museums rather than outside them. For the most part, conditions in museum buildings can be kept reasonably stable and the behaviour of objects can be predicted for longer. Conversely the reaction to treatment is faster for those objects kept in the open conditions of a great house, and this fact has given us warnings regarding the use of new materials which we cannot afford to disregard.
For example, the use of some synthetic resins was once widely advocated, but has now been discontinued, since it was discovered that after a period of time a process known as cross-linking could render their use irreversible. Damage to dyestuffs may also happen through the use of some new materials – but as very little research has been done, the reasons are uncertain.
Safety for the conservator as well as for the objects is another consideration. In Textile Conservation edited by Dr. Jentina Leene you will find references in to dangers to beware of, and it is as well to realise that not only is the safety of the textile of prime concern but also the safety of the conservator.
We must all take care and observe the safety codes for the use of chemicals in all the work we do.
When discussing or describing objects, there should be no doubt about the meaning, but when describing textiles, we have to understand that most terms have changed from their original meaning according to the fashions of any one time.
For example, the word FUSTIAN has been used to describe a considerable variety of structures made from different fibres, though mostly with a form of hairy surface, which could be either woven or corded. Fustian is now sometimes used to describe a class of heavily wefted fabrics – not necessarily tufted or even hairy – made from cotton.
Fabrics are best described in basic weaving terms. Another example shows why – it concerns the fabric used for crewel-work embroidery around 1700, a twillweave with a linen warp and a cotton weft.
Weavers of necessity use the yarn with the greater tensile strength for the warp, which means that if the fibres are the other way round – a cotton warp and a linen weft – the fabric is not likely to be of such an early date because the cotton to produce the stronger yarn would have had to have been machine spun.
It is important that we should describe exactly what we see, rather than try to name fabrics which may have retained a name, even though the techniques of making it have changed throughout the development of efficient textile machinery or for other reasons.
Some weaves and even some dyes were named after their place of origin or where they were mainly marketed. Some methods are named after the person who finally perfected them or took out the patent.
Some names are now applicable to entirely different fabrics from the original, because advertising in any age has always made use of evocative words and phrases.
WOOF is one word that springs to mind. Writers like that word, but it is not used by weavers.
Objects too should be described as you see them – for the same reasons as before and because quite often several languages have produced a mish-mash of half-understood terms. Mistakes may be avoided only if we stick to descriptions of what we actually see.
This goes for furniture too. In talking of bed-hangings, we use words like curtains, pelmets, bedposts, bedpost covers and bedspreads in preference to more pretentious terms that have often changed their meaning over the years.
Some considerations concerning efficiency and pleasant working relationships, when several people work together.
From the point of view of teaching and being taught, efficiency means the acquisition of proper working habits and the economic use of available resources.
Untidiness leads to inefficiency through time wasted looking for things. It can also lead to damage or loss of objects or parts of objects undergoing treatment.
Continuity of working habits is important and is usually supplied by experienced members of staff who are expected to take the lead when unforeseen situations crop up. It is much easier to deal with a problem in its early stages, than if it has been given time to develop. The senior person will either know how to deal with any situation or who to ask for help and advice.
Each person is responsible for the safety of the object entrusted to him or her for treatment and should allow no one else except the instructor to handle it.
Objects should be kept clean and covered between working sessions.
Each person – conservator, student or apprentice – is responsible for the tools used during conservation, including pins and needles.
Any pins and needles dropped on the floor while working should be picked up at the end of each working session and put back in their trays.
After cleaning and when an object is finished all tools and equipment should be returned to their proper places, clean and tidy and ready for use again.
All materials such as net, or other support fabrics, threads wools etc. should be tidily kept in their assigned store – only those in use should be out in the workroom.
2. Accident Prevention is part of good management
No unattended electric appliance may be left switched on.
Everyone should be aware that chemicals must be kept in safe conditions. After use, a bottle or jar should be closed, wiped and returned to store. Odd amounts of mixture should be thrown away, unless required after a very short interval in which case it should be clearly labelled to prevent accidents.
Liquids in any form should not be allowed on a work surface or only if placed in trays, which would contain any accidental spills.
Any drinks brought into the workroom may be placed on the foot of the trestles only.
Personal possessions should not be brought into the workrooms, except possibly for handbags, which must be put into a safe place, near the owner, but out of everyone’s way and never on a work surface.
3. Relaxation during working hours
In all close working relationships consideration for each person’s feelings is of the greatest importance.
Some people prefer to work in silence, others like low key conversation, and others again like to listen to fairly undemanding radio programmes – not because of any intellectual deficiency but because they do not wish that lack of attention should interfere with their work.
Because of the special conditions of the Textile Conservation Centre any programme is liable to be interrupted and switched off by the arrival of visitors or explanations concerning work or teaching in one form or another, which in any case would discourage serious or long-lasting programmes of any kind. It should also be remembered that, according to regulations, playing of radios or other music is not permitted in Royal Parks and Palaces and therefore we are obliged to keep the sound level low enough not to be heard outside even with the windows open.
Considerations concerning the rules governing our relationship with Hampton Court Palace and the people who work at Hampton Court Palace and are responsible for keeping the Palace in order.
The rules are few and we must do our best to obey them because of the many complexities involved and because rules are basically designed to make relationships function smoothly.
The Lord Chamberlain’s Office has overall responsibility for the palace, while the Department of the Environment looks after its day to day running.
Besides the state apartments and the gardens which are open to the public, there are special workrooms and many private residences. (Grace and Favour Apartments).
We are the first group of people to have been given a Grace and Favour Apartment to be used for work and teaching but several other organisations have now been granted the same privilege – including the Embroiderers Guild and the Building Conservation Trust.
We do not belong to any specific official category so our rules are those laid down for the occupants of the Grace and Favour Apartments and the unwritten rules governing good relationships between neighbours.
- The numbered buttons we have been given to facilitate our movements within the palace are for personal use only.
The buttons do not entitle us to extend this privilege to outside visitors to the Palace.
- There is an existing rule, and I quote: “Journalists may not be admitted to any apartment for the purpose of writing about them. By the same rule, a ban is imposed on all press, television and cinematographic cameras and upon broadcasting sound recorders being used in any residence”.
This means that though photography will be allowed for our work, it may only be done at the discretion of the principal, and that as the copyright of all photography and reports done within the TCC belongs to the TCC, no photographs of objects in the safekeeping of the TCC may be taken or given away, and no work of any kind may be published except with written permission by the Principal. This applies to students’ work too, including the exam reports.
- To comply with the security officer’s directions, we must inform the Control Room in Tennis Court Lane when visitors or deliveries are expected. Consequently the Principal’s permission is necessary before allowing any visitors into the TCC.
- The keys to Apartment #2 are not available at weekends or bank holidays except by special arrangement with the Principal.
- We are not allowed to smoke in any part occupied by the TCC and we must make sure that all visitors are aware of this rule, as the consequences of an accident caused by smoking could be very serious.
- The last person to leave the premises occupied by the TCC is expected to check, and double check, that all shutters are closed and lights switched off and the keys returned to the Control Room.
- The Lord Chamberlain’s Office, for obvious security reasons, always expects that the people who work for them should refrain from discussing their objects and where they come from with outsiders, and this must be the rule for all private work. We should avoid referring by name to the private owners of any object undergoing conservation at the TCC.
Public bodies may have different ideas – sometimes their need for publicity overrides questions of privacy and they might welcome having their names mentioned.
Information concerning this will be given with each project.
- All correspondence regarding objects for which the TCC is responsible must be signed or initialled by the Principal.
- Work should start at 9 or 9.30. All settling in and coffee drinking should be finished before the day’s work begins.
Information sheet no. 27 gives the Rules and Customs more intimately concerned with the Textile Conservation Centre, and its internal organisation is described in sheets No. 12/2 and 3.
Appendix 1: Orientation given to first year students
Notes by Karen Finch
The subject of textiles is vast – in three years it is not possible to give you more than a surface glimpse of the unending variety of textile objects and how they were made and used.
Your training in textile conservation is put together for the purpose of giving a sound overview of the 3 common denominations of textile objects, which are:
FIBRES – DYESTUFFS – FINISHINGS
and how they age and are affected by the climate and conditions under which they are kept.
This knowledge and a thorough grounding in conservation science, materials and techniques should enable you to tackle any textile conservation problem with which you may be confronted.
In theory, this is all the training you need for the purpose of working in a museum where the objects are the responsibility of a curator with specialist knowledge of a particular collection.
However, not all objects of historic and cultural value are in museums; many are still a part of their original environment and looked after by their owners or the National Trust.
Whether in public or private ownership, aspects of particular interest may not become apparent until the conservator has started work and gained access to the inside or the back of an object – when it may quite suddenly be seen as being totally unique.
But it is only if the conservator is knowledgeable enough to draw attention to the possibility of this being the case, that we can be sure that valuable evidence of our past may be kept safe for future research and documentation.
If conservators do not recognise the unusual when they see it, or know what to do with their discoveries, or from whom to seek advice, the evidence may be lost.
We shall endeavour to give you the basic knowledge and vocabulary to lay the foundation for fruitful discussion with textile historians and scientists.
To this end, we have also invited people who are experts in their field to talk to you about their work and we have arranged special visits for you as a group – later on, during the second and third years, individual visits may be arranged for special purposes arising from work in hand.
Finally, this room is yours as a group. All the practical work will be taught in this room and – when necessary to increase the space – the small room next door.
You will be responsible for its good order and tidiness, and I suggest that you share the cupboard space between you.
Each shelf should be marked with a name or a purpose.
The floors will be cleaned but you are each responsible for your own work and its safety.
I suggest that you share the general responsibilities for the rooms and noticeboards by forming yourselves into three groups to take charge of the three successive terms.
On the timetables you will see when the practical work is planned. Only the actual teaching is timetabled – it is up to you how you fit in the practical work and studies between lectures and demonstrations.
As you will have seen, there are several teachers and demonstrators. Besides Sherry Doyal for practical conservation work on mounting and presentation, Maria Kralovansky will teach practical conservation techniques. Nancy Kimmins, Paula Pavitt and Mary Smith will teach textile techniques – they are not conservators but all are experts in their field.
Maria Kralovansky is a senior textile conservator at the Hungarian National Museum, from where she has been granted leave of absence for a year.
Maria is with us on a Teaching Research Fellowship and we hope to welcome her here about the 20th of October.
She teaches textile techniques to the students at the Hungarian Conservation Course and her responsibilities at the National Museum include teaching and supervising newcomers to the staff. She trained as a tailor before entering the museum service and developing her special expertise in the conservation of historic dress.
Until Maria has become acclimatised, I am the person to whom you should bring any problems concerning conservation, or indeed any other problem.
I shall remain the person to whom you bring any other problem – my door is always open and it is a given that you do not hesitate to bring embryonic problems to me. I trust that I shall always be able to help to overcome them, by myself or with John Parkinson or Peggy Hooton.
I am pleased you are all here and look forward to a happy year together.
Students will need the following equipment
- Pencils – no ballpoint pens or ink in workrooms
- A work box containing:
- Tape measures
- Needles – samples provided by the TCC of Millward needles
- Brass pins or lace pins – no dressmakers pins may be taken into the TCC.
Pins and needles are supplied by the TCC. They are very expensive – especially the entomological pins – and so, please, do not lose too many.
Appendix 2: Outline of the lecture courses for terms I and II
Survey lectures for Textile Conservators on the History of Textile Techniques
The history and philosophy of Textile Conservation and the people who pioneered the concepts and ethical considerations in Britain and elsewhere
Sheep races and their development in different environments. The properties of wool and its treatments from fibre to felt and yarns. Woollen and Worsted and the practical significance of these terms.
Sericulture and the treatment of cultivated and wild silk from the main silk producing countries. The properties of silk that determined its use.
Flax production and the early use of linen in Egypt. Flax producing areas in Europe and the development of the linen industry. The properties of flax that facilitated its use for household and personal linen.
Main cotton growing areas and the qualities for which each area is known. The properties of cotton fibres and fabrics. The rise of the cotton industry and the demands made by the changing circumstances of fashion and special demands.
Outline of the history and production of other fibres used for making textiles – hair, hemp, jute, ramie and various seed and leaf fibres. Brief introduction to the making of artificial silk filaments and early manmade fibres and their dates.
The development of spindles and distaffs and their relationship with the fibres to be spun. The different properties of yarns spun on the two types of spinning wheels: the Great Wheel and the Flyer and both wheels. The inventions leading to industrial carding, combing and spinning and the relationship of these operations with the look of the finished yarns.
Lace – Ornamentation and non-woven textile structures
From earliest times the organic development of textile techniques may have grown out of the availability and properties of natural objects chosen for decoration or for protection against the elements. Outlines the changing purposes behind the use of materials and of techniques according to fashion and practical needs.
The development of looms in different parts of the world – archaeological finds, reconstruction of looms, classification of loom types into seven groups from primitive looms to the Jacquard principle. Loom vocabulary.
Braidweaving, Cording, Trimming
Outline of methods of production, looms and tools together with illustrations of their use and the materials involved at different times for different purposes.
Basic weaves and their characteristics. Weaves derived or combined from the basic weaves. Classification into groups for descriptive purposes, including fabrics with designs forming part of the weave and fabrics with designs extra to the weave. Twill and damask weaves with reverse designs back and front. Compound weaves with several warp and weft systems. Velvet weaves.
How did the Textile Conservation Centre at Hampton Court palace come into being?
Appendix to a lecture on textile conservation given at the Royal Society of Arts, London, November 1976. Outlines the ideas and events that led to the setting up of the Centre and the people involved in making the ideas work.
The Foundations of Research into Textile History
Overview of the sources of information and the events leading to the study of textiles as historical documents: museum collections, archaeological explorations, the people involved, publications and societies, special meetings which have been crucial to promoting an interest in textile history and conservation.
Plain or basic fabrics and the Looms in which they were woven
Early centres of production and distribution of plain fabrics and the purposes for which plain cloth came to be produced. The relative efficiency of different types of loom and the development of the treadle loom in Asia and Europe.
Figured Fabrics and the development of complicated looms
The drawloom and how design is produced. Compound weaves, selvedge cords, reeds and loom width, technical advancement, the Jacquard loom.
Methods and materials used for colouring textiles. Brief descriptions of natural dyestuffs and where these were found, the development of the dyeing industry. Early dyebooks. Trade centres. Guilds and their rules and regulations concerning standards according to the purpose of the materials wanted.
Colour and preventive conservation. Colour and symbolism. Liturgical colours. The choice of colour for conservation and display.
Practical Introduction to Dress
A survey in chronological order or dress conserved for Charles Stewart and others including the National Trust (Snowshill)
Painting and Printing
Brief historic outline of decorative effects including for printing and special finishes. Methods – Tools – Materials. Descriptions of painted fabrics conserved in Ealing and the circumstances of their survival. A 16th century painted cloth from Little Malvern Hall and a Firebird Costume with design by Diaghilev. The paints of both were analysed by Joyce Plesters. The banners flown by Sir Francis Drake on the Golden Hind now at Buckland Abbey. Stencilled fabric used for tailoring in a court1 suit at Snowshill, National Trust. Painted hangings from China, Tibet, Russia and Sweden.
Textile Finishing Treatments
Describing the traditional methods of fulling, teazling and shearing of woollen fabrics, bleaching of grey goods and the treatment with various types of gum, starch and size that became common during the latter part of the 19th century. The materials used for the finishing treatments are described for the purpose of promoting an understanding of their long-term effect and the durability of the textiles treated.
Embroidery: Materials, Techniques and Tools
Archaeological finds and historical embroideries illustrating the range and diversity of materials and techniques as well as the part embroidery has played in domestic and religious activities.
Other Materials sometimes allied to Textiles
A brief introduction to various types of materials in case histories of problems encountered. Framed samplers. Alum treated leather gloves with seed pearls, and silk and metalwork embroidery.Stuart box with similar embroidery. Quaker doll. Sedan Chair. Canvas work chair covers.
History of Cleaning and Washing of Textiles
Outline of cleaning methods and aids in use from early times and until the present day. The materials used for making soap and the organisation of washing according to climate.
Appendix 3: Additional special lectures included in the year’s programme
Aspects of Preventative Conservation and Display
Prepared for the students at the Islamic Course, Sotheby’s London December 1986.
This lecture lays special emphasis on the method by which anyone with an interest in historical textiles may promote their safekeeping in storage and display
The Postgraduate Diploma Course in Textile Conservation with the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Textile Conservation Centre at Hampton Court Palace
Prepared for the meeting of Nordisk Konservator Forbund, Norwegian Section, Oslo, November 1986.
Explains the events leading to the introduction of the course in 1973 and the setting up of the Centre in 1975.
Conservation of White Textiles with Emphasis on Underwear made from Linen and Cotton
Prepared for the Textile Group of the Netherlands, The Hague, November 1986.
Ethical deliberations and special considerations concerning documentation arising out of the conservation of a pair of sailor’s trousers from Napoleonic times – an 18th Century ‘crinoline’ with cane hoops. The underwear worn by Jeremy Bentham and baby clothes with stamped designs.
Textiles for all Seasons
Prepared for the Colloquium for Dr Jenny Schneider, Zurich, October 1986.
The author’s introduction to historic textiles and the influences that gave background and shape to the Diploma Course in Textile Conservation with the Courtauld Institute of Art. Early environment – Kunstindustri Museet, Copenhagen, Royal School of Needlework and Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The textiles described are: a late mediaeval silk embroidery. An 18th century double-woven petticoat. An 18th century pierced lace apron. 17th century knotted cotton fringes.
Selecting Materials for Embroidery
Prepared for a meeting of the Croydon Embroiderers, Croydon, June 1986.
Properties of textile fibres and their long term wear qualities with illustrations of ancient textiles and the conditions under which they have survived. Mounting methods and the choice of mounting materials to ensure safe conditions for as long as possible.
Preventative Conservation: A Positive Approach
Prepared for the NADFAS meeting at the Building Conservation Trust, Hampton Court Palace, March, 1986.
Introduction to the knowledge of preventive conservation which is needed by members of NADFAS Voluntary Corps, who wish to assist museums including military Museums and Historic Houses. Storage and display of colours and banners, uniforms and equipment. Problems concerning the cleaning of historic textiles with silk and metalwork embroidery. Handling of culturally important textiles.
The History and Conservation of a 17th Century Turkish tent
Prepared for the students on the Islamic Course at Sotheby’s, London, November 1985.
Design, construction and conservation of the Turkish Tent captured by the Polish forces in 1621, now in the Polish Institute in London.
Tipu’s Kit at Windsor Castle
Prepared for the Harper’s Ferry Symposium on special problems in the treatment of three dimensional textiles in 1984.
Describes the materials and conservation of two war coats and turbans, three banners, a quiver for arrows and a cuirass, which were acquired by the British under the normal laws of trophy and given to the Royal Family after the battle of Seringapatam in 1799.
The Crimson War Coat in Tipu’s Kit
Prepared for the CIETA meeting at Krefeld, Germany, September 1985.
Description of the quilting material found in the Crimson War coat, consisting of pieces of 17th and 18th century Pashmina shawls. Weave analysis has been planned.
Court Dress Materials
Prepared for a meeting of the Costume Committee at the International Council of Museums at Turku (Aabo), Finland, May 1985.
Describes some of the fabrics – and their construction – of special items of court dress worn at the coronations of George IV of Great Britain in 1821 and the gold dress and train worn by Queen Marie of Romania at the coronation of Czar Nicholas II of Russia in 1896.
The Conservation of Textiles and the Effects of Display, Storage and Continued Use and Adaptation
Prepared for the Embroiderers’ Guild Exhibition at Clarendon Park, Summer 1984.
A series of slides showing these effects together with a commentary on the influences governing the survival of textile objects. Problems caused by conservation and treatments not to be recommended that have been done by me.
Tapestry Conservation Techniques – Observations
Prepared for the Seminar on Tapestry Conservation at the Gobelin Manufactory in Paris, June 1984.
Considerations concerning the development of tapestry conservation techniques based on observations made at Rosenborg Slot, The Royal School of Needlework, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Hampton Court Palace and the author’s workrooms at Ealing. Damage sustained in the course of time – built-in damaging factors – former repairs – damage to design, colour changes – approach to conservation methods, useful equipment, dangers and pitfalls.
Appendix 4: Karen Finch Lecture Series (as planned for 1979)
|1||Textile Conservation history|
|9||Looms and weaving (Part 1)|
|10||Looms and weaving (Part 2)|
|12||Painted and printed fabrics|
|13||Finishes and finishing treatments|
|14||Wet cleaning and bleaching|
|17||Conservation methods and materials|
|20||Materials allied with textiles in objects|
|21||Foundations for textile research|
|22||Plain surfaced fabrics|
|23||Figured fabrics and loom|
|24||Tapestry weaving (European tradition)|
|25||Other tapestry woven objects|
|26||Rugs and carpets|
|29||Sewing, tailoring and dressmaking|
|30||Table-linen and household textiles|