The annual cleaning of the chandeliers at Tatton Park calls for more than a little ‘TLC’.
Mansion conservation assistant Sarah Bridges carefully lifts glass droplets from the magnificent 19th century chandelier in the dining room of the neo-classical Mansion.
This is part of the winter cleaning programme at the historic estate in rural Cheshire East.
No ‘spit and polish’ here! After carefully lifting down each chain of cut-glass droplets, dust is gently brushed from every bead with a pony hair or golden brush. The work is done systematically from top to bottom.
The glass is ‘wet-cleaned’ every 3-5 years to regain its brilliance. A mix of de-ionized water and a conservation grade detergent is used to clean the glass. It is then dried with paper towels and polished with a lint-free duster or glass cloth to remove smears. Thousands of droplets are cleaned in this manner.
Not many Mansion jobs can be as nerve-wracking (remember Del Boy and Rodney?).
Mansion and collections manager Caroline Schofield said: “This is certainly one of the most delicate jobs for the conservation assistants, and, as ever, they always take enormous care. It is more than worth it – the result, one could say, is ‘brilliant’!”
The dining room chandelier is one of the most beautiful in the Mansion. It dates from around 1850 and was made by the celebrated English company, Perry & Co., one of the finest 19th century chandelier producers.
The chandelier has 24 spiral-fluted and moulded ‘arms’, from which hang many cascading chains of cut glass beads and lozenge drops. In 1884 Tatton was one of the first provincial houses to be electrified. The chandelier was converted to electricity around this time.
Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales dined under this very chandelier when they were the guests of Wilbraham, 2nd Baron Egerton and his wife, Lady Mary Egerton, in May 1887.
Each evening of their two-day stay, 28 guests sat down to dinner and between 70 and 80 attended supper parties. A total of 116 bottles of champagne, claret and whisky were consumed during the stay!
The dining room, lit with the newly installed electric lighting, was described as “brilliant in the extreme”.
Tatton Park Mansion opens again to the public on 26th March 2011.
Thursday 28 April: Housekeeper and Butler Tour in the Mansion
Step back in time and join Miss Cork, the ever-efficient housekeeper to Earl Egerton, and Mr New, his formidable butler. Be on your best behaviour as they show you around the magnificent Mansion and demonstrate their daily duties in this stunning setting.
11am-12pm. Adult: £7.50, Child £3.50.
For more information call 01625 374400 or visit our website www.tattonpark.org.uk