The collection includes practical items such as plates and flatware (cutlery), as well as elaborate showpieces for the centre of the dining table and sideboard including wine coolers, candelabras sculptural dishes and chargers.
During the winter months, when the house is closed, the whole visitor route is given a careful deep clean, from floor to ceiling. In addition, this time of year provides the opportunity to undertake preventative conservation on objects and works of art so that they can be displayed at their best.
Silver objects tarnish over time as the metal reacts with the atmosphere and oxidises turning it grey and eventually black if not maintained. Initially each item is dry cleaned with a soft brush and vacuum to remove surface dust particles. The dust particles are abrasive and can cause damage to the surface of the metal if not removed as gently as possible. The second stage of the process involves the use of special tarnish removing cloths which allow the tarnish to be removed dry, without the use of paste polishes or silver dip, which if not removed properly can cause damage to the metal.
Many of the pieces, such as the Dolphin Wine Bucket illustrated have very detailed decoration and can take up to two hours to clean.