This paper looks at the treatment applied to preserve a set of late 19th century bullion fringe valances, augmented with drops composed of silk floss-bound strung wooden finials. It also looks at the collaboration and decision making process behind it. The three valances hang at the Historic Houses Trust of NSW (HHT) Rouse Hill Estate. The HHT has developed a conservation policy unique to Rouse Hill Estate which endeavours to maintain the condition of the house contents in the state they were left by the last occupiers of the house, before the HHT undertook care of the estate. The Rouse Hill treatment philosophy requires the conservator to understand the unique situation, requirements and desired outcomes of a treatment. These often include attention to the possible use of items as exceptional research tools because of their provenanced environment. Treatments also often involve problem solving to use less invasive cleaning or repairs than might otherwise have been considered, while still protecting them from further degradation or damage in their historic house environment. The treatment decided upon and carried out on these soft furnishings involved retaining some previous treatment work, removing and replacing an old support structure and preserving some repairs possibly carried out by a member of the Rouse family. This successful treatment also involved cleaning, some silk consolidation and providing additional structural support in a way which was not visually intrusive once the valances and drops were re-hung.


2006 Textiles Symposium, Adelaide
Paper author:
Miriam Wormleaton