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Blog and News

Restoring our remarkable tapestries

18th March 2019

During the winter, when our doors are shut to the public, we carry out all of our important conservation work on Parham’s precious needlework, furniture and paintings.

Parham’s much loved collection of tapestry and needlework is one of the finest in the country and one that we are so proud to display for all to enjoy. It’s essential that these treasured textiles are cared for and preserved for many generations to come.

The Great Hall is home to a set of two woven, hanging tapestries dating from the early eighteenth century. Made in Antwerp and attributed to Phillip Wauters, the hangings are adapted from cartoons by Raphael. Restoration work has recently been completed on the tapestry that hangs in the archway on the right hand side, depicting St. Peter delivered from prison by an angel.

Over time, hanging wall tapestries can develop small holes in the stitching due to the strain of the weight. Having trained in hand-embroidery at the Royal School of Needlework, Nettie Rowsell is a specialist in preserving antique textiles and has just spent several weeks here recently restoring this precious piece.

Working row by row, Nettie completed a series of tiny stab-stitches to repair the tapestry and to re-affix it to the backing, so as to remove some of the tension on the historic threadwork. Each stitch is made using strong polyester thread in a natural colour, so that the repairs are practically invisible to the naked eye.

Parham’s remarkable collection of tapestries and embroideries can be found throughout the House, and are complemented by the many portraits containing a wealth of needlework detail.

Find out more about what you can see at Parham House here.