The past week the house team have been checking the inventory marks on several pieces of furniture. Every single object in the house has a specific number, known as an inventory number, and these are kept recorded so that we know where every object is located. We do this for a number of reasons. One is that as an accredited museum, we are under obligation to know where every item is located. There are roughly 9000 objects in the collection, and by giving each one a specific number it is easier to keep track of them! This is also for security reasons, as well as alerting the conservation team to possible preservation needs of any objects.
Some of the chairs and stools in the Picture Gallery and Drawing Room had incorrect inventory marks, and so we spent the last few days correcting them.
This is more complicated than it seems; firstly, a thin base coat of acetone has to be carefully painted onto a discreet area of the furniture. This then has to be left to dry overnight. Next, using an extremely steady hand, the correct inventory number has to be painted on (we used white paint) in the neatest and smallest hand writing you can do!
Once this is dry, a coat of acetone (slightly different to the base coat) is placed on top. We use the different coats so that if a mistake is made, or the inventory number ever needs to be removed, the number (and the coats) can be completely wiped off.
Not to be forgotten is painting a thin line of black paint through the incorrect inventory number.
These original inventory numbers were painted directly on to the furniture so cannot be removed, the best we can do is to place a line through them. Although, on the other hand, the marks now represent part of the furniture’s history in its life at Attingham.