Two extremely rare and important 17th century English tapestries will be going back on display at Chatsworth from March 19 following an intensive two-year conservation programme.

The important Mortlake Tapestries from the 1630s represent the birth of the English tapestry industry and are based on Renaissance painter Raphael's cartoons of Acts of the Apostles.

It is believed that Chatsworth’s tapestries were acquired from the Mortlake workshops by the 3rd Earl of Devonshire (1617-1684) and moved into the State Drawing Room by the 5th Duke (1748-1811).

As well as the panel depicting 'Healing of the Lame Man', another section was found folded back behind the seam of the tapestry when the lining was removed. The rehang will see the 'Sacrifice at Lystra' reunited with 'Healing of the Lame Man' covering more than 50 sq metres of the back wall in the State Drawing Room. 

The further missing half of ‘Healing of the Lame Man’ will also be brought out of storage. This had been conserved previously and hasn’t been seen for a number of years. It will provide a wonderful opportunity to see the tapestries in full. After this season, this third piece will go back into storage for its long-term preservation.

Susie Stoke, Head of textiles, Chatsworth, said: "It's extremely exciting to be able to reunite these hugely important and beautiful tapestries and put them back on display. For the first time, visitors will have the opportunity to see the tapestries up closely to fully appreciate these beautiful works of art."

The tapestries were both in urgent need of conservation due to exposure to atmospheric pollution in the 19th and 20th centuries. They were given extensive treatment by Shephard Travis conservation, which included washing to remove acidic pollutants, repairing the fabric, and adding a support cloth for extra strength.

The rehanging of the tapestries is a challenging manual process that takes several hours, and is carried out by Chatsworth’s in-house Textile team who have conservation training or experience.

Chatsworth House, Garden, and Farmyard opens for the new season on 19 March 2016. For more information, visit www.chatsworth.org.

 
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Notes to editors:
The Chatsworth House Trust is dedicated to the preservation of Chatsworth House, the art collection, garden, woodlands and park for the long term benefit of the public. 
 
The charity promotes the study and appreciation of Chatsworth as a place of historic, architectural and artistic interest and of natural beauty, and encourages the use and enjoyment of Chatsworth by visitors for education and recreation. 
 
Chatsworth is a member of the Treasure Houses of England, 10 of the most magnificent palaces, stately homes and castles in England. www.treasurehouses.co.uk
 
Chatsworth is only 16 miles from the MI, 10 miles from Chesterfield, and 8 miles north of Matlock, in the heart of Derbyshire’s Peak District National Park and is well served by transport links throughout the UK.
 
For further information or images please contact:
Liz Bee or Steve Houghton
Redbrick Communications
0115 910 1500
lizb@redbrickcommunications.com
steveh@redbrickcommunications.com

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