The conservation of tapestries for museum display

User menu

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Pow, Constance V.;


Studies in conservation, Volume 15, Number 2, p.134-153 (1970)


analysis, building materials, cleaning, conservation, dry cleaning, impregnation, Lissapoln, study, tapestries, textiles, vinamul g 515


A broad outline of the considerations which arise with regard to the conservation of a museum collection of tapestries is given in this paper. The various types of damage to, and deterioration of, tapestries is discussed. Various methods of washing and dry cleaning, and the equipment necessary for these procedures, are reviewed, and a caution is included as to the necessity of testing all dyes for colorfastness in both water and any solvent used for dry cleaning. The equipment, materials and techniques of repair are discussed; three methods of repair being currently used in museums and specialist workshops–re-weaving, stitching on to a backing and the use of synthetic resins for impregnation and adhesion to a woven support. It is suggested in conclusion that the optimum method of repair in museums is stitching on to a backing. More research must be undertaken into the use of synthetic resins, and re-weaving usually alters the original appearance of the tapestry. Finally, the need for specialized conservation staff in a museum with a tapestry collection is emphasized.