The Textile Conservation Centre

More grant success for the Centre for Textile Conservation

Frances Lennard, the Centre's Senior Lecturer in Textile Conservation has had yet more grant success.  She reports on the latest grant below:

"Tapestry conservation research has just received a great boost: the Leverhulme Trust  has recently made an award of £200,000 to the University of Glasgow to carry out research into tapestry conservation and display. There are many magnificent collections of tapestries in museums and historic houses but they are often in very weak condition, the result of many centuries’ exposure to light, pollution and handling.

The award will fund a new three-year research project, a collaboration between the Centre for Textile Conservation (CTC) and the School of Engineering at Glasgow – the investigators are Frances Lennard of the CTC and Dr Philip Harrison in Engineering. The project will develop initial work at the University of Southampton on the strain monitoring of tapestries. Most conservation research in the past has focused on the way tapestries and other textiles degrade chemically, and it is relatively unusual to focus on the mechanical effects of treatment and display.

Tapestry conservation techniques aim to do two things at once: stabilise the tapestry structure and make it safe to hang, whilst also adding colour to help redefine the image where it has been affected by damage. This research will help us to understand the effects of different types of stitched support. It will also investigate the benefits and potential drawbacks of displaying tapestries on sloping boards, a technique which is becoming more common across Europe.

We will use strain monitoring techniques, such as digital image correlation (DIC), and also computer modelling to give us a better picture of the physical effects of these methods."