Cottonian Furniture Project Update 1

By Emma Philip, Curator – Fine Art

First piece off to conservation

30 November 2012

Here is a photo of the inside of our wonderful tortoiseshell cabinet.  This will be first piece that goes off to conservation next week along with our wavefront cabinet.

The inside of our collector's cabinet
The inside of our collector’s cabinet

Time for some evaluation

29 November 2012

Today I have been doing a bit of evaluation work with visitors to the Cottonian Gallery.  Over the course of this project we will be carrying out research to see if the interpretation we are creating about the furniture is helping to bring the restored pieces to the public’s attention. Our Museum Assistants have also been involved in counting ‘dwell time’ – the amount of time that visitors are spending in the gallery. We hope that as the project goes on, we will convince people to stay for longer.

Museum Assistant Les with his clipboard!
Museum Assistant Les with his clipboard!

First two cabinets are prepped for conservation

26 November 2012

Today my colleague Neil (one of our Senior Conservators) and I began the process of decanting the first of the historic books from the wave-front cabinet in the Cottonian Collection Gallery.  The cabinet is off for much-needed conservation at expert furniture conservators Tankerdale Limited, along with our tortoiseshell collector’s cabinet.

These beautiful pieces of furniture have been part of the collection for at least 180 years.  Their production date, makers and history are not known for certain and so we are working with furniture historian Dr Adam Bowett to find out more about them.

During the process of counting and moving the books into secure storage, we found a small book called ‘The Legend of Captain Jones’, which was published in 1671.  In the inside cover of the book was what looked like a child’s drawing of the story of Captain Jones.  The little artist had attempted to sign the name ‘William Weuller/Weiler’.

The drawings on the inside cover of The Legend of Captain Jones
The drawings on the inside cover of The Legend of Captain Jones
William (once proud owner of the book), practising his signature
William (once proud owner of the book), practising his signature
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