Object of the Month - April 2019
Like most museum collections, the objects at Selly Manor need lots of careful care and attention to ensure they will be around for hundreds of more years to come. That includes lots of cleaning, checking for insect pests that might damage them, ensuring the temperature and humidity are just right and lots more besides. Occasionally we have to work a bit harder to get an object looking its best.
We have had to give a bit of tender loving care to a chair (or more accurately a 'backstool') recently. The backstool is part of the Laurence Cadbury Collection due to the principal collector who acquired them. Laurence loved old furniture and bought lots of it - mostly pieces that were made in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. In particular Laurence seems to have had a slight obsession with chairs because we have lots of them! They are all types and shapes, from short fat wide ones to slender embossed leather ones and some full of spindles and others with beautifully carved decoration.
The backstool we've been giving a bit of attention to was made in the early 18th century. It is the sort of thing quite a well off household would have owned and used as they sat around a small oval dining table. The main decoration is on the crest (on top of the back rest) as this is the bit you would see when the chair was tucked in. The crest has beautiful and delicate scrolls carved into it with flower patterns, a fleur de lys and other decoration. Sadly a bit of this crest was broken by a visitor and a piece of the wood became detached. Our rescuer was local antique conservator Stuart Brown! Stuart has done a wonderful job in repairing the break and making it look like it never happened - so the backstool is back on display for our lovely visitors! Take a look at the pictures below to see what a difference it has made.
If you would like to know more about the Laurence Cadbury Collection at Selly Manor Museum then a detailed and richly illustrated collection catalogue, priced at £10, is available in the museum shop or by calling 0121 472 0199.