Why this project?
This medicine chest was acquired recently by curators at Historic Royal Palaces to display at Kew as a reminder of the basic medical treatments available in the 18th century.
Conservators had to be careful when examining the substances inside the case, particularly those labelled ‘poison’ and ‘tincture of rhubarb’, the latter of which can cause vomiting when it has been standing for long periods.
The chest itself was conserved by the Furniture Department at West Dean College and then textile conservators at Hampton Court surface cleaned the green velvet lining.
Read more about the contents and conservation of the intriguing object.
Timings: November 2005
Find out more
More information about conservation at the palaces:
Ask the conservators
Look for our conservators around the palaces wearing ‘Ask the Conservators’ badges. They’ll be happy to tell you about what they’re doing to conserve the palaces’ collections and to answer your questions.
Palace upkeep is expensive work and as an independent charity we receive no funding from the Government or the Crown. We depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors.