Helen Fawbert and her team at Knole have recently spent a day x-raying some of the magnificent pieces of furniture in the house.
This was part of the conservation work being done in the Reynolds Room at Knole, which I featured earlier.
X-radiography is a non-invasive technique that can reveal the construction, condition and previous repairs of antique furniture.
James Young of 3DX-Ray Ltd was called in to trial the process at Knole.
3DX-Ray’s equipment is portable and can be safely used in situations where the objects to be examined are fragile or difficult to access or move – particularly useful in the context of historic houses.
The resulting images were unexpectedly clear – and even beautiful in themselves – and revealed not just nails and screws but also layers of upholstery and even woodworm tunnels.
These images will be part of the initial assessment of the furniture in the Reynolds Room.
This will be followed by a physical examination of the pieces by a conservator, who will then put together a conservation plan.
The Reynolds Room project will be used as a model for the conservation work planned to take place all over the house during the next ten years.