Costume and textiles

Tapestry condition loan assessment

In 2012 the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh celebrated the centenary of its founding with an exhibition of a selection of their tapestries and objects that incorporate tapestries.  They borrowed 40 from clients all over the world. We assessed the condition of the in-coming tapestries prior to the exhibition opening.  Tapestries infected with insect pest larvae were identified for freezing in order to prevent pests spreading during the exhibition.

A chair upholstered with Dovecot Studio tapestry.
Live pest infestation was identified along the edge of the tapestry-covered seat of the chair.

Scottish Widows cloaks survey

Lloyds Banking Group Archive had acquired a collection of 12 long hooded cloaks.  The cloaks were used in the Scottish Widows television adverts ( from 1986 over the period of about 30 years.  The majority of the cloaks were of heavy black velvet-like materials with a range of different coloured linings (photo 1).  Some were from the ateliers of famous fashion designers.  Perhaps the most striking was a glittery pink pleated cloak (photo 2) that had been used for a breast cancer charity event.

The cloaks were creased from their past folded storage.  Some of them had sticky adhesive tape remains and pins from having had to be altered on the spot for filming.  Some of them had become wet during filming and had suffered staining and dye run. 

The best way to avoid costly conservation problems is to act early and prevent them.  The Studio advised the Archive in establishing the best practice guidelines for the preservation of the cloaks.  As part of the survey the condition of each of the cloaks was assessed.  The best way to store the large and heavy cloaks was discussed and a plan for what methods and materials would be used for re-packing them for safe long-term storage was established.  The Studio conducted a coaching session for members of the archive staff in labeling the cloaks with accession numbers and how to make tailored padded hangers and prepare the cloaks for safe hanging.  Cloaks needing professional textile conservation were also identified so that the Archive will be able to plan for their problems to be acted on in the future.


11 possibly
1. One of the black cloaks with its red lining.
2. The top of the pink cloak.