One of the objects at Knole currently undergoing conservation treatment is the so-called ‘spangled bed’. This bed may have been created in the early eighteenth century using an Elizabethan or Jacobean royal canopy of state which was sewn with silver sequins.
The silk curtains of this bed are being analysed and treated at the National Trust’s Textile Conservation Studio. The Knole Conservation Team Blog has recently shown these images of the initial findings.
It turns out that the curtains are a patchwork of different elements, including six different types of silk damask, a plain silk section and a linen section.
All these patches seem to have had previous uses before they were inserted into the bed curtains, as they show additional seams and darning.
There are a number of different types and styles of seams, suggesting that there were several successive repairs.
At some point the curtains seem to have been turned upside down, so that the damaged and patched hems would be at the top and therefore less obvious.
All this gives some glimpses of the life of this venerable bed, as well as of the thrifty housekeeping methods of previous generations.