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Bird's-eye view of a tapestry wash at Hampton Court Palace

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See through the eyes of the textile conservators as they wash the 17th century Mortlake tapestry ‘February’ in a wash bath built specifically for our largest tapestries at Hampton Court Palace. The tapestries are cleaned using de-ionised (soft) water and a special detergent mixture. This Tapestry is part of the Royal Collection Trust's collection. You can find out more about it on their website: https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/1404/february You can now watch the tapestry being re-hung: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xmp_B4h7-tc
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Text Comments (8)
NelliNightshade (13 days ago)
have recently seen the iconic series of 'the lady and the unicorn' tapestries. how (if at all) could these be cleaned?
amesavis (22 days ago)
Seems quite absurd. Do they get that dirty? I didn't see any dirt, I mean are the ghosts having thousands of candles burning and smells of food everywhere and what is the point of spraying on top of water and then having women dab at certain spots with a sponge? You really should explain more.
Lesley Dickson (1 year ago)
Fascinating. I wouldn't have dreamt that they actually washed the tapestries!
n49o7 (2 years ago)
I don't quite understand the method. There's a giant machine that puts foam on the tapestry, but then there still has to be people with sponges in addition. Wouldn't the opposite be easier? Spray the foam with a hose and have the machine gently tap with sponges? Then the towels are laid by hand instead of using a roll, and fans need to be brought in instead of having one ventilation system with an on/off switch. My question is: what is the purpose of this machine?
jedixsquare (2 years ago)
Very interesting, thank you!
Paige Perfect (2 years ago)
are there side by side before and after photos?
Semi-Pro (2 years ago)
How often does the Tapestry need cleaning?
Akosua Vilaysane (2 years ago)
Thanks so much for taking us behind the scenes :) Such a cool process!

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