Conservation treatment of a settee at Audley End


Settee, part of a large suite of furniture. Upholstery not original to painted wood frame, however, historically significant having been commissioned in 1780s by the Howard family sepcifically for Audley End.

Client brief/role of object

Temporarily remove the upholstery to make frame fully accessible for treatment by furniture consevator. Stabilise upholstery and frame for continued open display in historic house.


Wood frame extensively damaged by wood worm. In comparison, upholstery and top covers in very good condition.


Top covers and uphostery understructures: temporary removal from frame; cleaning and conservation; re-application to treated frame. Cleaning of top covers and upholstery involved a combination of wet and solvent cleaning. Minimally intrusive conservation re-application techniques used to reduce damage to frame and upholstery.

Condition after treatment

All agreed objective met: stability of upholstery and frame improved; stresses and tensions between frame and upholstery reduced; details record of upholstery materials and structure achieved.

Further Information

Gill, K. and Eastop, D. 1997. Two contrasting minimally interventive upholstery treatments: Different roles, different treatments. In: K. Marko (ed). Textiles in Trust. Proceedings of the 1995 Symposium, National Trust, UK and Archetype, 67-77.

[TCC 1643]


Reproduced courtesy of English Heritage, Audley End House and the Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton. Textile Conservation Centre, University of Southampton © 2009.

Kate Gill, TCC project manager and primary conservator of upholstery and textiles

Treatment completed 1993