Copy of the cornice, delivered and it looks fantastic. The carving and carved curves of the original cornices has been faithfully copied by carver Mike Howden. Jon Wray, joiner, undertook the manufacture of the structural works, to which the carvings are attached, and mouldings such as the very bold cove, technically quite a challenge to make. As with the tester, whose original construction left rather a lot to be desired, so it is with the original cornices. Brilliant carving, but rickety structural work. Jon Wray, working with Mike Howden, devised an understructure that is very light, but rigid. Like the consolidation work on the tester the new constructional design is essential for rigidity, but unseen.
Conserving the textiles involves, in part, careful cleaning to remove years of dust.
The tester has been turned over so that the textile conservator can undertake consolidation and cleaning of the surviving textiles, and disguise areas of loss.
The ceiling void above where the tester is to be suspended has been assessed, and the requisite support structure designed. There is a massive RSJ steel beam to attach to, a beam that was added years ago to support the weight of the showcases in the room above the Crimson Bedroom. The pilot hole is being marked in the picture left. The RSJ is on the left side of the picture on the right. The drill bit can just be seen between the tape measure and the RSJ.
And one very dead bird near the point of tester suspension. Poor thing must have found its way in through a disused sealed up chimney in the room, with a gap down in the void, and gotten trapped. All chimneys were capped when Temple Newsam was re-roofed in the late 1990s. Not the first dead bird I have come across in Leeds' historic houses, I hope it is the last.
Posted by Ian Fraser