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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: The Padded Headboard Doppelganger

by Conservation

5/7/2020

textile conservation , behind the scenes , uphostery conservation , headboard , furnture

This padded headboard insert has a doppelganger. It is being prepared for an exhibition next year and came to the textile conservation lab to treat the padded, silk-covered insert that fits inside the wooden headboard frame. Because the original silk upholstery is under tension, soiled, and damaged in a way that is difficult to treat safely and effectively, in this instance, our conservator decided to substitute a replacement for the original insert. This allows us to preserve the original, unaltered insert (which will go back into storage), reuse the original wooden frame, and preserve the artist’s intended look for the headboard with a new padded insert made of conservation-safe materials.

While the original is a heavy wood base covered in cotton batting, silk taffeta and finished with matching piping with a cotton core (now mostly lost), its new clone is archival foamcore covered in resin-free polyester batting, polyester taffeta and finished with matching piping with a cotton core. The insert isn’t quite done, but as you can see here, it’s getting close to a near-perfect substitution for the original insert which can safely take a break from long years of service.