Details of our past Spring conferences held at Corpus Christi College Cambridge are listed below.
Visits and Social Events
An Evening Exploring Frederic Leighton's Private Palace of Art, its History and its Conservation: February 2019
We hosted our AGM and invited guests to spend an evening exploring the wonderful Leighton House Museum, South Kensington following the £1.6m restoration programme.
We welcomed Daniel Robbins, Senior Curator, Museum and Dante Vanoli, Project Architect, Purcell to introduce the building and the project. Our group members Helen Hughes and Allyson MeDermott were also on hand to discuss the architectural paint research and wallpaper conservation carried out during the project.
In 2010 a dismantled antique four-poster bed was left for collection in a car park in Chester. It was later sold at auction as a 'profusely carved Victorian four poster bed with armourial shields'. However, its now owner thought the oak looked much older and was impressed by the quality of the carving. He then embarked on an exploration of the object's past, employing an unusually broad array of archaeological, forensic and art historic analyses which produced startingly variable, and sometimes contradictory, research findings - even from the same methodology.
When all of the evidence is collated what can we conclude - it is a fifteenth century royal bed, or a revival from the age of antiquarianism?
The Historic Interiors group hosted a one day symposium at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Kensington to discuss the bed. We were joined by speakers from the British Museum, Manchester Metropolitan University, The Langley Collection, University of Lincoln, Thunen Institute Hamburg, Dr Jonathon Foyle and Helen Hughes.
We were also delighted to see an article in the National Geographic following the event.
Historic Interiors Group AGM held on Monday 31st July 2017 at 75 Cowcross Street, Clerkenwell, London followed by a visit to Old Sessions House - A late 18th century Magistrates Court
Historic Interiors Members were given a unique opportunity to visit the interiors of the Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell Green, EC1R.
The building contains a spectacular Domed Entrance Hall, two former court-rooms and the site of former prison cells in the basement. From the 1930's it was used as offices before becoming a Masonic Hall. The building has an exciting future. The history and development of the building will be presented by the owners Ted & Oliver Grebelius, the local conservation officer and several conservators who have been involved in the project.
A joint event hosted at the Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck College, London full of talks and posters followed by a social evening. The forum included talks on the Queen's Ante Chamber wall hangins at Ham House (May Berkouwer), Tale of Two Arts and Crafts Houses (Helen Elletson), A house Lost in Time (Emma Slocambe), Inspired by Knole (Siobhan Barrett) and Conservation of Westonbirt House (Jenny Band).
A two hour tour of the then newly acquired National Trust property tailored to meet the interests of the Historic Interiors group members, concentrating on the buildings decorative interiors. In addition there was an opportunity to visit the nearby studios of Bush & Berry Conservation.
The Historic Interiors section visit to Tyntesfield on the 5th of July this summer proved to be a great hit. The outing was well subscribed to with almost forty individuals attending, a surprising number considering that it was the first such visit undertaken by the section.
After a recent high profile campaign, the most successful instigated by the National Trust to date, Tyntesfield was saved for the nation. Located to the south of Bristol, Tyntesfield is a Victorian country estate, remarkable for the level of survival of its interiors and contents. In many ways it is a time capsule, encompassing the culture and routine of country house life in the nineteenth century. But it is not only for its architecture, interior decoration and fittings that Tyntesfield holds interest. Externally, the estate buildings have been retained in their entirety, representing a rare example of all the buildings - such as the stables, home farm, etc. - which made up the working of an estate at this time. This unity and high level of retention was made possible to a large extent by the Gibbs family who resided at the property over four generations. A fortune made from the shipment of solidified bird droppings, or guano, from South America allowed William Gibbs to purchased Tyntesfield in 1843. However, it was not until twenty years later that William employed the architect John Norton to transform the house into the building which can be seen now.
The UKIC members were met by Mary Greenacre, Historic Properties Co-ordinator, for Tyntesfield and the Property Manager, Ruth Gofton, outside Tyntesfield and given an informal introduction. Two groups were then formed and with the aid of volunteer guides, we were taken on an extremely interesting tour around the interior of the property and the attached chapel. A walk around the exterior elevations was made possible towards the end of the tour.
The National Trust intends to use the conservation of Tyntesfield as a means of promoting links with the community and as an education tool for the general public and students of conservation. The philosophy for the presentation of the property is still evolving as the Trust hopes to live with the building for a time before deciding the best way forward. Conservation surveys of the contents and historic interiors are currently being undertaken to determine the level of conservation appropriate for their presentation whilst still ensuring the stability of the objects. The Trust is keen to hear the views of the many different interested parties and to this end the opinions of the UKIC members were sought on how they would like to see conservation and display policy directed.
In this manner, not only was the visit a visually stimulating experience for those who attended, but individual members were able to contribute to the discussion of various aspects of the decoration, such as the textiles and wallpaper. It is greatly hoped that this collaborative approach can continue to be fostered so that all those with expertise may be able to assist in the conservation of this unique architectural asset.
Following the tour, attendees returned to Bush & Berry Conservation Studios for tea. This gave members an opportunity to see how this chapel has been recently converted for use as a conservation studio for large easel paintings as well as view a number of current projects.