Fabric!

 

The Queen Anne State bed, is, well, not quite nearly finished but the end is in sight. Essential to the whole process of restoration has been choosing the fabrics and trimmings for upholstering the bed.
In 1710, the fabric you used said a lot about who you were. The bed was probably made at the very moment that he became first Lord of the Treasury, a most prestigious position in the Royal Court. The silk damask and velvet and gold lace (braid) were amongst the most costly fabrics available.
To give some context, he probably spent the equivalent of 5 farm workers’ annual wages on velvet and 9 farm workers’ wages on gold. The 1st Earl Poulett wasn’t messing around. His extravagant fabric choice conveyed his high status and what must have been his immense wealth.
Likewise, choosing suitable replacements must mimic as much as possible the opulence and splendour of the original but also match in with faded glamour of what remains. Difficult decisions were made and compromises were inevitable.
However, Visiting the upholsterers and seeing the valences being remade, the curtains hung and the cornices recovered, I think that the project team has chosen rather well. Ask me more about the bed using Twitter!   http://twitter.com/CuratorPolly
We chose the colour by matching it to where another sample was glued!

 

 

New and Old together

 

We chose the velvet colour using tufts.

 

 

 

Colin covering a new cornice with velvet.

 

Kasia sewing on braid on a new valence

 

 

A glimpse of what the finished cornice will look like, covered in velvet and gold lace.

By Curator Polly Putnam

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