In March 2010 I arrived from Holland to work at The Bowes Museum, to take care of the tapestry collection. There are about 70 large, and 200 small tapestries, making ours one of the largest collections in the UK.
The small tapestries are seat covers, fragments of tapestry borders and small picture panels. Last week I found a very fine woven panel of a crucifixion after a painting by Van Dyke.
I am taking photographs, checking the condition, vacuuming and then storing them in a proper way. Often there are too many small tapestries stored in one box, some folded many times and the storage materials are not archival quality. Up until now I have assessed 65 small tapestries.
The large rolled textiles have just moved into their new ‘home’, which is in the Fashion & Textile Gallery behind the semi-transparent sliding doors. One by one I will take them out and assess them in the Glass Cube. They will be vacuumed, have old linings removed, be condition checked, and re-rolled with archival storage materials.
In the Music Room Gallery on the 2nd floor of the Museum, I am conserving a medium-sized French tapestry, which is thought to have belonged to the French Royal Court. When conservation is finished it will go on display in the Fashion & Textile Gallery.
Alice de Keijser, Textile Conservator