Before I got to Powis, while I was still at university, one of the tapestry from the State Bedroom was sent away to be conserved. On Wednesday I got the chance to help the conservator hang it back in its rightful place.
Emma Telford had been responsible for working on the tapestry, and it had been taken to Belgium to be carefully cleaned to reveal its colours. She had repaired the weak points of the tapestry and given its condition a through check. Tuesday saw us putting up the scaffolding in preparation. This was the second time I had assisted in putting a scaffold tower up, but again did not climb it. I went up the tall ladder we placed to the side of the scaffold.
The tapestry was delivered some days before rolled up onto a cardboard tube layered with acid-free tissue paper. The tapestry is attached to the wall with strong velcro, so it can be easily taken down in case of an emergency salvage situation. To put the tapestry back up we had to life the tube and unroll the tapestry along the wall, while others at the top stuck the velcro back on at the top. Emma Telford and Naomi went up the scaffold and I went up the huge ladder while Will and Ben unrolled the tube at the bottom.
In the end the tapestry went up much quicker than I expected it would, I like to think it was due to our fantastic team work, but it was probably because Emma is a seasoned expert at these sort of activities! I felt so amazed that I was allowed to assist and help hang the tapestry. It was a great experience for me as textiles is one of the areas I am toying with specialising in (some time in the far future).
It was very exciting to see the difference between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ tapestry the conservation work made such a difference in the clarity and the colour. The tapestry’s return is also very well timed, as we have just had word that we have received funding for similar work to be done on one of our other tapestries and it will be exciting to see the difference in that one after it has been sent away.
Monday was a busy busy day, as I expected with our grand Christmas opening coming up on Saturday. Us LTVs started the day by going up to the estate lands and picking Christmas trees for the castle!! Although it wasn’t quite like it is in the moves (more mud and rain, less pretty snow, the trees were shorter too) we had a good laugh picking them together and got some nice little trees to decorate. They were delivered to the castle Monday afternoon and placed in the castle and the decorating started Tuesday. We were having a lovely time hanging ornaments and singing Christmas carols! I promise to post pictures soon of our beautiful decorations.
Monday also heralded a big event for Powis Castle. It was the first day on the job for the new Director General of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh, and she chose to start her time with the Trust not only in Wales, but right here at Powis Castle. This is a huge honour and I was very excited to get to meet her. She seemed very nice, interested in what we had to say, especially about the gardens. She asked me what I wanted to do after my time here was over, and I told her I knew I wanted to stay with the Trust but this opportunity had made me realise how many career options there are within the charity, and how many I would be happy doing. It was a real compliment for Dame Helen to start her time here, and will hopefully mean good things not only for us, but for Wales in general also!
Before I go one last teaser as to what our Christmas theme is going to be at the castle.