Invitation to Tender: Conservation of Recognised Furniture Collections at Paxton House

Paxton House


Posted on

End date


Collection information 

Paxton House was constructed in 1758-63 to the designs of John and James Adam for Patrick Home of Billie. Ninian Home, Patrick’s nephew and cousin bought Paxton in 1773 and began furnishing it in 1774 by commissioning the master cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale. The Paxton Style, developed between 1774 and 1792 combined relatively plain, but innovative furniture forms with superb quality mahogany cuts and veneers, to produce pieces that were, in the words of patron Ninian Home, ‘neat and substantially good’. The Paxton style features restrained enrichment, rather than ostentatious carving and gilding, and is quite different from the productions of the elder Chippendale’s earlier career. 

The Paxton Trust holds the largest collection of Chippendale’s work in Scotland (over 120 items) at Paxton House, which is an accredited museum that has been open to the public since 1992. The collection of Chippendale furniture (and the furniture by William Trotter dating to the Regency period) has been Recognised by Museums Galleries Scotland as being of National Importance. There is a collection of 30 items by William Trotter made for the Regency period extension, many of which are unique. 

The tender

We wish to invite Accredited Furniture Conservators with a proven track record of working on comparable collections (e.g. National Trust / NTS / English Heritage / Accredited Museum collections) to tender for a programme of conservation work on Paxton’s Recognised collections.  

In the first instance we would like the priority 1 category items as listed in the conservation plan (year one) conserved so they can be displayed in the new slavery permanent exhibition and in the slavery-related trail around the house. The conservation plan details the priorities for the following two years and work will be contracted as funding becomes available. 

Quality of work: To meet the standards expected by Icon and Accreditation 

Documentation: The work must be fully documented (written and images) and discussed with the Curator of Paxton in advance and approved in advance. 

The appearance of the conserved items must be appropriate to the ambience of Paxton House.  

As far as is reasonably possible the conservation work needs to be undertaken when the house is closed to the public, which particularly important when the work has to be undertaken 'in situ' at Paxton House, or a space will be set aside within the house for work to take place. There is scope for the work to be undertaken in conservation studios subject to suitable conditions. Pieces which are not intended for display in the exhibitions, but are being conserved as part of a set (e.g. dining chairs) may be conserved at a date to be confirmed with the Trust. The funding for this tender is being awarded from Museums Galleries Scotland and The Pilgrim Trust. You will work with others to deliver this aim to the highest standards, such as the Arts Council England Museum Accreditation to ensure we are working to the highest level possible 


Knowledge, skills and experience


  • A professional qualification and/or equivalent professional experience in conservation, demonstrating a sound knowledge of preventive and remedial conservation of collections and historic interiors at the accredited level  
  • Good understanding of the latest innovations in preventive and remedial conservation with the ability to adapt for the Trust's use  
  • Substantial knowledge of the wider cultural heritage environment  
  • Knowledge of relevant legislative requirements relating to role  



  • Strong influencing and negotiating skills. Able to be assertive and challenge  
  • Strong demonstrable consulting skills of listening, building trust and acting to deliver a high quality service  
  • Ability to analyse issues holistically and apply a high level of reasoned judgement  
  • Ability to build strong collaborative working relationships with external professionals, operational senior managers and within the Trust 
  • Ability to change behaviour through strong skills of persuasion  
  • Ability to lead on, interpret and respond to external and internal research, intelligence and analysis · Project Management skills - ability to manage medium sized projects over short term horizons  
  • Ability to develop new approaches within existing broad frameworks to deliver results  
  • Ability to enthuse, inspire and raise the confidence of non specialists in areas of preventive and remedial conservation of collections and historic interiors  
  • Ability to manage significant delegated budgets on behalf of operational senior managers  



  • Substantial post-qualification practical experience of working in all aspects of the preventive and remedial conservation of collections and historic interiors with particular focus on furniture 
  • Track record of managing and delivering innovation in a multi-disciplinary environment / team 

Please contact Dr Fiona Salvesen Murrell at [email protected] submitting a CV,  and including your daily and hourly rate, and two references.