Amongst the important art objects that form The Wernher Collection are a set of four tapestry panels known as ‘Les Mois Grotesques’. They were woven at the Gobelins, the French royal weaving manufactory, between 1710-1730, and depict Roman goddesses that represent months of the year surrounded by artefacts symbolic of their attributes, such as Ceres with sheathes of corn.
Conservation of the hangings was carried out to enable them to be safely displayed in the open setting of the long gallery at Ranger’s House, Greenwich, where the collection is newly housed following an agreement by the Trustees of the Wernher Foundation to loan them to English Heritage for 125 years.
- The tapestry panels were tacked to wooden stretchers. They were released to enable conservation treatment to be carried out.
- For each hanging, dyed conservation-grade nylon net was secured around the cut edges to protect the tapestry weave. In the case of ‘December’, a narrow patch of dyed plain-weave wool was applied along both sides to in fill areas of loss and strengthens the weak edges.
- It is necessary to attach aprons to each side of a tapestry to evenly secure it to a frame for stitched support to be carried out. For ‘Les Mois Grotesques’ tapestry panels, it was important that stitching along the sides was reduced, as the areas are weak. Therefore, the width of the aprons was calculated so that they could also be used to remount the panels following treatment.
- Conservation stitching was carried out working through a patch support of scoured linen scrim.
- The excess linen from the patch support at the ends of the tapestry panels was turned and secured. Aprons were also attached along these edges to enable the panels to be attached to their stretchers on all four sides.
- The tapestry panels were remounted onto their original stretchers that had been amended to provide better support and protection. The aprons and support fabrics were trimmed to the correct length