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As you may have read in Andy’s last post, the exhibition is up and running! So I thought I’d put up some photos to show you some of the hard work done by the team that has gone into planning, researching and finally installing the exhibition.

So after weeks of this…

Andy doing research work for the exhibition

…and searching through this…

The archive store

…and this…

The textile and costume store

…we finally had all the archive material and collection items we needed!

As there are several parts to the exhibition, the installation took a number of days and required lots of help.

We decided to use the Drawing Room as a space to introduce the exhibition, tying in the Gerald Kelly portrait of Lady Berwick, with the Fortuny cloak she is wearing in the portrait (which we still have in the costume store). This meant that we had to move this portrait from the East Ante Room into the Drawing Room; a feat perhaps more easily said than done. The portrait was hanging over a chest of draws, making the process of moving the heavy painting more awkward. As luck would have it, Attingham held a ‘Painting Handling’ training day at the time we needed to move the painting, and so there were plenty of experienced hands to help and provide the less experienced with the opportunity to learn how paintings should be properly handled and moved.

Mike and Caroline levelling the portrait of Lady Berwick in the Drawing Room.

Conservation volunteer Jan preparing a mannequin for the Fortuny cloak.

The French Bedroom took the most time to prepare, transforming it to display the pièce de résistance of the exhibition– the coronation robes of Lord and Lady Berwick.

Harry and Kevin unwrapping the 6ft photographs of Lord and Lady Berwick wearing their coronation robes.

We placed some quotes (written by either Lord and Lady Berwick, or their friends) onto the walls to really give visitors a sense of the atmosphere on the day of the coronation of George VI. Transferring this vinyl lettering was quite a tricky task! We only had one shot to get each quote correctly attached to the wall, which was difficult as some of the quotes were over 3 metres long! Thankfully it all went well and they added a lovely feel to the room.

Transferring vinyl lettering quotes onto the wall

Lastly, the coronation robes were taken out of their boxes and placed onto mannequins.

Bridget and Jan placing Lady Berwick’s dress onto the mannequin. The robes then fitted on top of the dress.

Interestingly, Lady Berwick’s dress and robes did not fit onto the mannequin brought in for the purpose. Her robes would only fit onto a child size mannequin. She must have been a petit lady indeed!

I hope you have enjoyed seeing some of the ‘behind the scenes’ work of the exhibition. We have all certainly enjoyed working on this project and it is exciting for us to see it finally set up.

With the start of the exhibition however, comes the end of my time here at Attingham. I have had a brilliant time and will be sad to leave such a vibrant property. As for hearing more about the daily work of the conservation team on the blog, I leave you in the capable hands of the next generation of interns.

All the best,