Shropshire Star

Video and pictures: Painstaking conservation work on Weston Park treasures

It spends most of the year out of the limelight and its thousands of historic objects are hidden away from the public eye.


But visitors to Weston Park have been able to see close up just what goes on behind closed doors in caring for the huge collection of valuables at the manor house.

All this week, Conservation in Action Tours have been taking place at the 17th century stately home on the Shropshire border.

They are giving the public the chance to see first hand some of the work involved in looking after collections and for visitors to learn more about the challenges that the Weston Park Foundation faces.

The home, in Weston-under-Lizard, possesses a staggering 30,000 historic objects on display, ranging from portraits by Anthony van Dyck to 1980s family photographs, from Chippendale chairs to stuffed parrots – all of which require specialist and consistent attention.

The conservation of the property is an ongoing process and requires technical expertise ranging from specialist micro-drills which analyse paint to studying old black and white photos from archives.

Mary Kempski, a conservator from the Hamilton Kerr institute in Cambridge, said: "We come up here this time every year for four to five days and tend to work on five pieces a day.

"We work on the re-framing, re-varnishing, dusting and surface cleaning of the paintings as well as adding brass fittings to the frames.

"This is followed up with a condition report and sometimes we have to take the paintings back to Cambridge for a more in-depth restoration process.

"I have a number of post-graduates who help me, as well as interns from abroad."

Whilst Hamilton Kerr's visit highlights the significance of the paraphernalia at Weston Park, the Weston Park Foundation is the educational charity behind the ongoing conservation of the Grade I listed property.

Gareth Williams, curator and head of learning to the Weston Park Foundation, said: "Spring cleaning offers us all the chance to reassess our treasured possessions, whilst at Weston Park this work is done on a wholly different scale, with conservators Hamilton Kerr playing a part in safeguarding the present and future for the House's indigenous treasures at this time of year."

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