Conservation of a Japanned Bureau-Cabinet from Erddig

Some months ago now we had an interesting object in the studio for extensive treatment: a black japanned bureau-cabinet, one of the most important pieces of furniture from National Trust’s Erddig in Wrexham. The goal of the work over six months was to preserve the decorative surfaces and to restore it aesthetically, including cleaning, consolidating the flaking japanning, restoring losses of damaged wooden elements and re-integrating the degraded varnish surface. The captions in the photos below explain it all.

Erddig is a wonderful eighteenth century country house and well worth a visit, especially now with its bureau-cabinet back! It has a unique collection including an amazing series of portraits of the servants spanning 200 years—my favourite, of course, is that of Thomas Rogers, the house carpenter at his workbench.

Before Treatment

Before Treatment

After treatment

After treatment

by Tristram Bainbridge