The house team has recently been inventory checking objects stored in the semainier in the Sultana Room. This has involved recording which objects are stored in which drawer, re-wrapping them in acid-free tissue paper and labelling them with their inventory number so it will be easier to find them in the future!
The semainier is an interesting object in its own right. Its name comes from ‘semaine’ which means week in French. Traditionally a semainier has seven drawers, one for each day of the week, however our semainier has eight! These pieces of furniture would have been used to store linen and lingerie for the week.
There are lots of fascinating items in our collection stored in the semainier so I thought I would share some of my favourite objects with you. I particularly liked this beautiful gold and amethyst seal.
You can view this object on the National Trust collections website by clicking here.
I also liked these folding lorgnette spectacles, cased in mother-of-pearl with gilt frames and oval glass lenses which we very carefully unfolded!
You can learn more about these spectacles here.
Also stored in the semainier are several medallions. I especially liked the medallion that the 5th Lord Berwick received in 1857 for Ducks Class 57 at the Birmingham and Midlands Counties Exhibition. The white ceramic medallion has illustrations of various fowl including ducks!
More information on this medallion can be viewed here.
Here is the medallion after we have inventory checked it, re-wrapped it in acid-free tissue paper and labelled it with its inventory number ATT/V/015. ‘ATT’ refers to Attingham whilst the ‘V’ stands for object of vertu, meaning fine works of art. Most of our collection items are maked with their old-style inventory number which begins with ‘ATT’ but the objects also have a new CMS (Collections Management System) number which was created when the National Trust started to use this new electronic inventory. As new objects are added they will only be given a new CMS number. On the National Trust collections website you can see that the CMS number for this medallion is 609985.
National Trust staff use CMS to manage their collections and as objects are moved around the rooms, they need to be moved on CMS to track the history of that object. The National Trust Collections website is the public view of CMS where anyone can search the wonderful objects which are in the care of the National Trust.