From 15 March to 26 May 2024, the Chatsworth Textiles Team worked in the guest bedrooms in the house, creating an opportunity for visitors to see the kind of conservation work undertaken by the Chatsworth House Trust charity behind the scenes, all year round. 

An added attraction was the reopening of the guest apartments* following the restoration of the 18th century hand-blocked and painted Chinese wallpapers. Each room was devoid of furniture, creating the perfect opportunity to fully admire the intricate bird and botanical patterns.

Two key textile conservation projects were underway, enabling visitors to see and talk to the team while at work with needle and thread. A short film also played, illustrating the process.

A 'lost' Aubusson carpet

In the Leicester bedroom, a 200-year old Aubusson carpet was carefully repaired and re-lined.

The carpet was recorded as 'lost' for several decades but was rediscovered when work on the Masterplan was undertaken in 2005. It is believed to have been purchased by the 6th Duke of Devonshire for the guest bedrooms.

This style of colourful flatweave carpet was first introduced in 16th century France for royal courts and aristocratic families, and often the designs were created by well-known artists to reflect the styles of the time.

After being rediscovered in 2005, the carpet was restored to its intended location in the Leicester bedroom before being carefully removed to make way for the start of restoration work on the wallpapers.

Bobbles

The almost forgotten art of 'passementerie' took place in the Wellington bedroom. 

The restoration of chintz textiles contained in the Queen of Scots suite has been a long term project for the textile team, and the final task was to trim a curtain swag with decorative bobbles. 

Passementerie (pronounced pass-mon-tree) is the name given to the lavish ornamental trimmings and edgings applied to interior or clothing fabrics. The process originated in France and is first recorded in the 18th century.

The original pale blue silk on each bobble perished due to light exposure revealing the wood surface of the bobble underneath. The team used the original 200 year old wooden bobbles and re-covered them with a new silk.

The more unusual cigar shaped pieces have been covered by Derby Trimmings, one of only a handful of passementerie makers still practising.

By highlighting the conservation work normally undertaken behind the scenes, we hope to help visitors develop a deeper understanding of the day-to-day conservation undertaken at Chatsworth and to see how income from their ticket purchase is reinvested.

*the guest bedrooms closed from 26 May in preparation for the installation of the Erdem: Imaginary Conversations exhibition, 22 June - 20 October.

Watch the Conservation of a Drop Braid

About Chatsworth House Trust

Chatsworth House Trust is a registered charity established in 1981 to maintain and improve Chatsworth House, its collections, Garden and landscape for the benefit of everyone.

All income from admissions, Gift Aid, membership, sponsorship, grants and legacy giving goes to the charity for essential conservation and our exhibitions, events, and learning and outreach programmes.

Learn more about the charity, or make a donation online, using the links below.

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