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Conservation Begins on Queen Anne's Throne Canopy

Date: 15 July 2016

Author: Nikki Chard

As a conservator, it’s always exciting to get the chance to work on such a unique object. We are given a glimpse into the past: we can see how it was made, how it was put together and might even discover parts that we didn’t expect to be there or find evidence of alterations. Our initial assessment of the throne canopy has thrown up some intriguing finds – stay tuned for more discoveries as the story unfolds!

Conservators working on the canopy in the conservation studio.

Image: Conservators working on the canopy in the conservation studio © Historic Royal Palaces

But before we get too carried away, it is important at the start of any project to set out some guiding principles for the conservation work. Based on professional standards, these principles ensure continuity and give us something concrete to come back to when we are faced with the inevitable conservation challenges.

For this project, we decided on the following objective: to make the throne canopy structurally stable enough to withstand a minimum of 50 years on open display whilst preserving as much of the object’s history as possible.

As the throne canopy will not be protected by a case at Kensington Palace, we have the added challenge of protecting it from harm which can occur from a variety of sources such as over exposure to light, pests and dust, and ensure that our visitors can appreciate it as authentically as possible.

Assessing the parts of the throne canopy in the conservation studio.

Image: Assessing the parts of the throne canopy in our studio © Historic Royal Palaces

We intend for this blog to give you an insight into the work that goes into conserving such a large and complex object. You will learn how we have applied our guiding principles and some of the challenges we face to ensure we preserve this magnificent object for future generations to enjoy.

In our next post: introducing the Cloth of State, a makeshift wash bath, and an unexpected hole.

Nikki Chard
Textile conservator

Acquired with the assistance of the Art Fund. Conserved with assistance from Lord Barnby’s Foundation, Idlewild Trust, The Radcliffe Trust, The Leche trust, Broadley Charitable Trust and the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers alias Wire Workers. We are grateful for their support.

More from our blog

Progress on the Coat of Arms: Queen Anne's Throne Canopy Conservation

18 October 2016

At first glance, the coat of arms embroidery appears to be one whole piece. It is however made up of 19 individual pieces, put together like a puzzle. The picture of the unicorn below shows that it is in fact made of four different sections.

Introducing the Cloth of State: Queen Anne's Throne Canopy Conservation

28 July 2016

The cloth of state forms the backdrop of the throne canopy and is made up of three layers; an embroidered coat of arms stitched to a silk damask hanging with a linen lining.

A Curator's Thoughts on the Queen Anne's Throne Canopy Conservation

15 July 2016

In the heyday of our palaces every audience chamber was fitted-out with a canopy like this one, along with a high state chair, stools and a dais (small platform), collectively known as 'the state'.

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