I keep finding new blogs being written by National Trust colleagues about the places where they work and the projects they are engaged in. My latest discovery is the Montacute House blog, which has actually been going for some time.
One of the subjects that Montacute intern Emma Harnett and volunteer Andrew May have been posting about is the return of the portrait of King James I of England and VI of Scotland by John de Critz the Elder, which we recently purchased at auction. The picture had originally been given to Sir Edward Phelips, the builder of Montacute, as a mark of esteem by the king.
The portrait underwent conservation treatment before it was put on display. Here you can see a conservator taking tiny paint samples for analysis.
The wooden panel that the portrait is painted on was found to be quite thin and slightly warped, with small cracks in places.
A so-called panel tray has now been fitted to the back of the painting. This is a kind of box that supports the back of the picture but also allows it to move when there are changes in humidity levels, helping to prevent further damage.
I am looking forward to more interesting posts from the Montacute House blog.