I want to extend a huge thank you to Zenzie Tinker for the amazing opportunity to work with her team for the beginning of June to the end of July on different site works, such as the vacuuming of William Morris wall coverings at The Ironmonger’s Hall, condition checking Lee Miller’s clothes at Farleys House and Gallery, and bringing down military colours at Saint-Paul’s Cathedral. However, I have spent most of my time on the treatment of a naval dress coat from the early 20th century.
To summarise my work on the naval dress coat, I have unpicked the old lining which was in a severe shattered condition and turning to dust. I was able to take the pattern from the remaining fragments which I used to make a new lining – as the client desired – in black silk habotai. Unpicking the old lining also allowed me to pull down the sleeve linings through the cuffs and stabilise the fragile areas along the underarms. Nylon net sleeves were also dyed accordingly and overlaid on the sleeve linings to protect them further. The collar lining is in the same fabric as the bodice lining. However, it is in a relatively good condition which allows it to be preserved on the garment with some additional support and protection from abrasion. I also added several visual infills on insect damage on the white and black wool of the coat. All infills were realised with cotton domette to match the nap of wool. The white wool infills were colour-matched with acrylic paint and the black wool ones were dyed with Solophenyl (which was a challenge!). I also used the black domette to support tears along the button stitches.
This whole project has been a valuable experience to take the time to learn. The support and advice of the whole team have been foremost helpful and enlightening. I am a student and still have a lot to learn, but this experience has been a giant push towards gaining the needed skills to become an emerging conservator. It has also been amazing to witness all the high-quality work carried out by the studio. I am looking forward to coming back to visit!
Here are some images of the replacement of the old lining which has been the most challenging part of the project!