Conservation an early 19th century bonnet with blue silk ribbons
The bonnet comprises a rigid structure of straw made from Belgian split plait. It is fully lined with a blue, plain weave silk and further adorned with a long hanging blue satin weave silk ribbon. The ribbon extends along the sides of the bonnet, forming an elaborate pleated decoration.
Client brief/Role of object
Stabilise the lining; reduce the degree of creasing in the hanging ribbons; fabricate a customised support form and storage unit.
Condition before treatment
Straw elements excellent condition; textile elements good to poor condition; the heavily sized hanging ribbons were heavily creased, before undertaking conservation treatment. The silk lining was weak and the exposed section along the brim had largely worn away.
Following surface cleaning the ribbons received contact humidification treatment to relax creasing.
Tangled, loose threads, along the brim of the lining, were realigned and consolidated with a conservation-grade cellulose-based adhesive. The damaged lining was protected and supported with an overlay panel of custom-dyed, colour-matched, silk crepeline. In preparation for use, the dyed crepeline was cast with a fine coating of a conservation grade, cellulose based adhesive. Upon drying, the crepeline support was positioned over the front face of the lining, then attached to it by gentle re-activation of the adhesive coating.
Support form for display and storage
A three-dimensional form was fabricated to support the bonnet during storage and display. The form will miminise handling and enable the bonnet to be easily transferred on its customised form, from the storage stand to the display stand.
The bonnet’s ribbons were rolled and secured to the base of the customised storage box ready for storage..
Condition after treatment
The bonnet is less vulnerable and well supported on the customised mount. The support form reduces handling of the bonnet and the customised box immobilises the bonnet during transport.
Designed to reduce handling of the hats and immobilise them in the storage box.
The bonnet is part of the collection at Wardown House, Museum and Gallery.
Reproduced courtesy of Luton Culture; Kate Gill Textile and Upholstery Conservation Services © 2019.
Treatment completed 2018