The Wardrobe

DBR Conservation

The Grade I listed ‘Wardrobe’ was once part of Richmond Palace, demolished by the order of Oliver Cromwell in 1649.

The building is one of only a handful of surviving structures connected to the Palace, and as its name suggests it was where the Royals stored their fine jewellery and dresses. It was refurbished during the reign of Queen Anne, by an architect thought to be Sir Christopher Wren. The building was subsequently divided into three apartments of historic interest, one of them recently purchased by a new owner who embarked upon a sensitive programme of repair.

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DBR Conservation worked with the architects and new owners in this process. Conservators took several paint samples from the Tudor timber and panelling for analysis of historic paint and treatments. It was discovered that the timbers were painted black 2 times at some point in the twentieth century, the first coat with alkyd paints, and the second was laid over a dark grey undercoat containing some titanium dioxide white, a pigment first widely used for house paints after the Second World War.  This information allowed for the conservators to safely remove the thick black coatings to reveal the original surface of the oak.

Original early 16th century brickwork bedding mortar samples were also taken for chemical and microscopic analysis to find the composition of the original binders and aggregates, such as yellow quartz, fine angular flint particles, brown clay/silt and charcoal kiln-fuel particles. This information was used for suitable like-for-like mortar matches in structural repairs to the Wardrobe’s parapet.

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