Internship Week 5: Interning from Home

So, Katie and Mitchell had to take a trip to deliver one of their jobs to California. They were kind enough to leave me with some reading material.

The books I was given to read are Upholstery Restoration by David James and Upholstery Conservation by Kathryn Gill and Dinah Eastop.


Upholstery Restoration is a how-to book on how to build new upholstery for your furniture. The part of the book that I was assigned to read was the cushion of a Late Regency period chair (also known as bergere chairs, which was as style that was introduced to UK by France around 1725).

It was a step by step process  about making a cushion for this chair and the different techniques that went into it.

Upholstery Conservation was a lot more on the technical side. Rather than being a how-to book, the section I read was about the general point of upholstery conservation and the mindset behind it.

  1. Upholstery Conservation as Preservation
    • The general purpose of this section was to give an introduction to upholstery conservation and give a general idea of the themes and purposes. Gill and Eastop illustrate on the fact that conservation means staying as true to the artist’s original intention as possible. Sometimes, investigation into the piece intended for conservation yields unexpected results.
    • The example they used was a Mermaid designed by designer and architect, William Burges. Initially the thought on this chair was that Burges wanted to demonstrate Victorian style, but closer inspection suggested that the original upholstery
  2. Upholstery Conservation as Revelation and Investigation
    • This part of the section went into finding certain marks on the pieces that could prove useful when trying to restore it, such as
      • Blemishes from past activities
      • Brands from a particular workshop
      • Talking to a person who works at said workshop
    • It’s also important to preserve evidence of use.
      • Was the furniture used as a kind of status symbol?
      • Was it used regularly?
  3. Upholstery Conservation as Interpretation
    • First of all, it’s nearly impossible to interpret design intentions
    • Looking at other furniture from this time is very useful when attempting to do so
    • The wishes of the client definitely need taken into consideration: Do they want to restore this furniture for their ballroom? Everyday use?

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