Newly conserved, historic scenery has landed a starring role in the theatre's new visitor centre.
The dreary, dense, and slightly creepy, trees have gone, and a lush green forest revealed in their place. The newly conserved woodland scene is a focal point of a brand new exhibition area at the theatre.
The unique stage set, which was created between 1818 and 1836 has undergone hundreds of hours of specialist conservation, and has landed a starring role in specially designed cases.
“The woodland scene was in poor condition and had suffered water damage, explains Project Manager, Mirren Hunter. “The colours in the scene were dull and much of the paintwork was flaking. Following this extensive restoration and conservation work it is almost like looking at new scenery, thanks to the expertise of conservator Francis W. Downing ACR .”
Conserving a masterpiece
As part of the initial conservation process the surface dirt and grime was removed.
The scenery was gently steam ironed between sheets of acid-free tissue paper beneath linen fabric to remove deformities in the canvas structure, level the creasing and further remove ingrained dirt.
The old repairs were generally respected as part of the Scenery’s history, however where the old repairs were found to be failing, these were re-attended by re-stitching or application of acrylic resin mixed with acrylic filler paste.
Some minor and minimal retouching was carried out, using acrylic water based paint for stability.
The whole scenery was given a very fine, thin spray of a non-yellowing synthetic resin varnish to protect the paint surface.
The whole scene was then enclosed within specially constructed display cases.
Visit the new Georgian Theatre Experience to see this unique piece of British theatre.