Rare Turkish wine bottles from 16th century sold by Cornish family fetch world record price of £750k
Two rare 16th-century Turkish bottles have fetched a world record price of £758,500 at auction - more than five times their guide price.
Both made in the town of Iznik - famous for its ceramics - circa 1575, one of the bottles sold for £547,250 (including buyer's premium) and the second for £301,250.
Experts put the difference in price down to one being 'a rarer colour' than the other.
Used to hold wine and water during the Ottoman Empire, the bottles were sold by the Copeland family from Trelissick House, near Truro, Cornwall.
Roger Tappin, regional director of Bonhams auctioneers, said the price of the bottles had exceeded all expectations and was 'a new world record'.
He said they had survived '500 years of being shipped around' and their value was 'terribly difficult to assess because they were almost unique, perfect examples from that period'.
Iznik pottery is named after the Turkish town where it was made between the mid-15th and 17th centuries.
It is famed for its quality and detailed blue and white designs, often featuring flowers.
Pottery made in the town of Iznik in the 15th to 17th centuries is highly regarded. Iznik tiles decorate the London home of Victorian painter Lord Frederick Leighton (left) and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey (right)
Alice Bailey, head of Bonhams Islamic Department, said: 'To find one Iznik bottle of this type from the second half of the 16th century is very rare, but to come across two splendid examples in the same English collection is astonishing.
'The market for important Iznik ceramics is very strong, particularly amongst Turkish collectors, and these pieces certainly did not disappoint.'
The bottles came to the Copeland family through an ancestor, Leonard Daneham Cunliffe, who bought them from antiques dealer Frank Dickinson from his 104 New Bond Street Gallery in 1919.
Mr Cunliffe, who was deputy governor of the Bank of England and co-founder of the Cunliffe Brothers merchant bank, bought the Iznik bottles for £501 10s - worth approximately £11,000 today.
The banker owned a number of properties including the neo-classical Trelissick House, which passed to his step-daughter, politician Ida Copeland, when he died.
In 1955 Ida gave 376 acres of Trelissick gardens, parkland and woods to the National Trust, retaining use of the house itself for the Copeland family.
Trelissick House has remained the family home of the Copelands, and one of Ida's grandsons, William Copeland, still lives in the house with his family.
Mr Copeland has recently decided to move and the contents of the house will be sold on site by Bonhams.
He said: 'We have been guardians of these fine works for a number of years and now that we are moving locally it is time to pass them on for others to enjoy.'
The sale - including ceramics, furniture and silver - will take place in July and is estimated to raise between £1million and £1.5million.
An ancient Buddhist artefact discovered being used as a doorstep and valued at £30,000 has been sold for more than £500,000.
The granite relic was given to Bronwen Hickmott’s parents by a tea planter who returned to Britain from Sri Lanka in the 1950s.
Mrs Hickmott inherited the 2.4m-long (8ft) stone from her mother and father and began using it as a doorstep at her home in Exeter, Devon - affectionately calling it 'the pebble'.
But an expert who spotted the one tonne stone in a photograph later confirmed it was actually a Buddhist temple step - up to 1,300 years old.
It was put up for auction with a pre-sale estimate of £30,000 to £50,000 but sold yesterday for ten times as much - £553,250.
Mrs Hickmott said she was 'over the moon' at the sale, and that rival auction house Sotheby’s had previously shown no interest in helping her research the origin of what she called ‘The Pebble’.
And she told how she was also turned down by producers of BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow.
She likened the response of Sotheby’s and the BBC producers to that of shop staff in hit film Pretty Woman who famously refuse to serve Julia Roberts - and miss out on a fortune when she goes on a spending spree.
Mrs Hickmott said: 'They have had a Pretty Woman moment. It was a big mistake. I bet they are kicking themselves now.'
She added: 'We are over the moon. We did not have a clue what ‘The Pebble’ would sell for.
'It was very exciting and as the amount increased we were left speechless and holding our breath.
'I have loved ‘The Pebble’ virtually all my life. I always knew it was something special - but never knew how special.
'A few years back when I was trying to research what it was, Sotheby’s turned it down.
'I also tried the Antiques Roadshow but the producers said they knew nothing about it.'
It was not until Sam Tuke, from the Exeter branch of Bonhams, showed the step to the auction house’s art experts in London that its origin was identified.
Mrs Hickmott said: 'That is the first time we realised what we had got in the garden but we never expected it to make anywhere near as much money.
'We shall be sharing the proceeds with our family - our brothers and sisters and children.
'But for now we are celebrating in London. I am going shopping tomorrow.'
The museum piece from the Anuradhapura period, between 400BC to 1017AD, is decorated with carvings of lions, horses, elephants and birds.
It is said to symbolise the four stages life - growth, energy, power and forbearance.
Bonhams spokesman Julian Roup said: 'There was a huge amount of interest so it wasn’t that much of a shock, though we didn’t expect it to sell ten times the estimate.
'The Hickmotts are absolutely delighted. To say that they were astonished is something of an understatement.'
Sri Lanka’s ancient city of Anuradhapura is now a Unesco world heritage site.
It is just one of seven temple steps from the ancient Sri Lankan city of Anuradhapura left in existance today.
The popularity of ancient Eastern art has greatly increased in recent years and the step is expected to sell for a £30,000 to £50,000 when it goes on sale at an auction.
The city of Anuradhapura is the greatest monastic city of the ancient world that dates from the middle of the 5th century BC. It is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Victorian seaman’s observations of people on Mutiny on the Bounty island 90 years after they arrived
Fascinating new insights have emerged about the lives in the South Pacific of the descendants of the infamous 1789 'Mutiny on the Bounty'.
A Victorian seaman who visited the island nearly 90 years later tells of a unique community which evolved there after the revolt by members of HMS Bounty's crew.
He says Pitcairn Island was a joyful, peaceful paradise untouched by the vice and horror which dogged the original mutineers' actions and early life there.
He described the harmonious, idyllic life led by the 91 inhabitants, who were nearly all related to the mutineers, and the primitive wood and coconut leaf-thatched huts they lived in.
He wrote: 'In the centre is the church which is the largest house and does duty as a schoolhouse on week days beyond the village against the trees in the trust of John Adams, the last of the mutineers who died in 1829 aged 65.
'The community is unique, everything is common property, vice seems quite unknown.
'They are courteous and hospitable to a degree and I should think that nowhere else do so many people live together in such perfect concord.
'They will never begin or finish eating without saying grace and are most grateful for any kindness.'
Lt Abbott said that four months before he arrived, twin daughters Lilly and Rosalind Butler had been born on the island to parents, American Peter Butler and Alice McCoy, granddaughter of mutineer William McCoy.
The oldest man on the island was Thursday Christian, aged 54, the grandson of Fletcher Christian, who led the mutineers.
Mutineers took control of the Bounty in protest at the tyrannical rule of its captain William Bligh.
Bligh and most of his loyal crew survived a miracle journey adrift on the ocean and managed to get back to Britain.
Hollywood films of Mutiny on the Bounty were made in 1935 and 1962, the latter starring Marlon Brando as the infamous mutineer Christian and Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh. It also featured Richard Harris and Gordon Jackson.
Matthew Denney, of auctioneers Duke's of Dorchester, Dorset, which sold archive and medals.
'However, to then find such a full and fascinating archive of material that includes telegrams from Queen Victoria, letters to and from his parents and extensive photographic records brought the set of medals to life in a fascinating and highly personal way.
'To have been able to take some time to read Lieutenant Abbott's journals and personal letters has been absolutely enthralling.'
He said: 'To find such a nice set of Victorian naval medals was very exciting, these always shed a fascinating insight into the many and varied campaigns across the globe that took place during the second half of the 19th century.
Despite the Royal Navy and British government prosecuting and hanging some of their descendants for the mutiny, the residents gave the crew a friendly reception.
In the 21st century life has not always been so idyllic as convictions for sexual offences rocked the island.
In 2004 half the adult male population was found guilty of child sex abuse.
For more than 30 years, no one dared speak out about the atrocities that were happening all around them.
Allegations were made to a visiting police officer in 1999.
And a probe revealed widespread child sex abuse over many years and resulted in 96 charges being laid against 17 men, both on and off the island.
Eight men were eventually convicted of a variety of sexual offences against children. Six received prison terms and two were given community sentences.
The six men given prison sentences included former island mayor Steve Christian, a descendant of Bounty mutineer Fletcher Christian.
He was sentenced to three years after being found guilty of committing five rapes against two girls.
His son, Randy, was sentenced to six years for four counts of rape and five counts of indecent assault.
Many potential witnesses dropped out of the trial under pressure from families and friends, who warned they could spell the end of the community.
It is believed the offending reflected a culture of abuse on Pitcairn stretching back at least three generations.
A decaying but iconic Jaguar E-Type sports car that has spent the last 30 years rotting in a dusty barn is set to fetch £30,000 at auction.
The decaying motor was only the 59th E-Type to be built, and although it is filthy inside and out and coated in rust, it could be worth £120,000 once restored.
Some 70,000 of the classy British cars were built but this is one of only a handful of originals still around.
The rusty model, that has now come to light, was bought by its current owner, a naval architect from Bath, in 1965 and he drove it regularly.
But due to spiralling running costs, he stored it in a garage in 1983 and it has been left there ever since.
Its cream panels and chrome bumpers have become spattered in rust over the last three decades and its red leather interior filled with dust.
Its owner, who is from Bath and is aged in his 80s, has now decided to sell the run-down car, that has around 65,000 miles on the clock and still has its original 3.8-litre engine.
Experts say it will take at least £50,000 to restore the tatty sports car to its former glory.
Jon Polson, motor car specialist at auctioneers Bonhams which is selling the Jaguar, said: 'It's an incredible car - very rare and very desirable.
'It's the E-Type at its purist before changes had to be made to the model to adhere to safety laws. It is the 59th ever built, and there are only a handful of the original models remaining.
'It would have been the owner's pride and joy when he bought it in 1965. Sadly the rising running costs forced him to garage the car in 1983 and it has not been used since.
'It has been quite well stored and has many of its original features. The owner always had plans to restore the car but it never happened.
'He has now decided it is time to pass on this magnificent car to someone else. The fact that it was owned for so long by just one person just goes to show how special this car is.'
The 1961 Jaguar E-Type Flat Floor Roadster will be auctioned by Bonhams at the Royal Air Force Museum in London on April 29.
Rarely seen photographs of the beautiful actress who famously had an affair with King Edward VII have been unearthed.
The album of portraits of the woman behind the royal affair is to be sold at auction for £7,000.
82 black and white photos of the 'other woman' have emerged for sale at Doyles auction house in New York.
Actress and socialite Lillie Langtry had a three-year affair with the Prince of Wales in the 1870s
The photographs were taken as publicity shots for Langtry's acting career and were taken five years after the affair had ended.
King Edward VII married Alexandra of Denmark in 1863 but was rumoured to have had multiple affairs throughout his marriage.
King Edward VII met Langtry at a dinner party in the 1870s and had a three-year relationship with the actress-cum-socialite.
He built Langtry a large house in Bournemouth, Dorset, which became their private retreat throughout their three year relationship.
Langtry, who was aged 32 at the time, later emigrated to the US and the album ended up in the ownership of an American friend.
Wearing different outfits, including a Japanese-style gown, the Victorian beauty posed showing her left-hand side in most of the photographs.
Edward Ripley-Duggan, director of the book department at auctioneers Doyles, said: 'The album has been with the current owner for a number of years now.
'Every single one of the images is signed by Langtry. This is a wonderful piece in terms of her career.
'She was obviously a little notorious but she was fundamentally a very intelligent and driven woman.
'Langtry was a very interesting figure indeed. Everybody knows about her liaisons with the then Prince of Wales.'
The black and white photos were designed to show Langtry off to her fullest. Each picture has been signed
She was a close friend of Oscar Wilde and I don't think you gained entry into that circle if you were a fool.
'This was a circle of wits where women were expected to be both pretty and witty.
'She was a strong character and prepared to deal with whatever came her way following the liaison with the Prince of Wales.'
Langtry's former home, called the Red House, is now the Langtry Manor Hotel in Bournemouth and the King's room there is now used as a honeymoon suite.
Langtry became an American citizen in 1897 and died in Monte Carlo in 1929 aged 75.
She is rumoured to have been the inspiration for the character of Irene Adler in Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tale A Scandal In Bohemia.
The album is being sold on April 23.
Source: Daily Mail
‘stolen’ ancient Hopi Native American masks to go on sale in France despite tribal demands for return
A Paris court ruled Friday in favor of a French auction house that plans to sell dozens of Native American tribal masks despite pleas from Arizona’s Hopi people, friends to the tribe like actor Robert Redford, and even from the U.S. government.
After a saga that began around a century ago, these intricate masks—which are fed and nurtured by the Hopi like the living dead—will be auctioned off to the highest bidder worlds away from where they began their journey in the deserts of Arizona.
The potentially landmark decision with transatlantic repercussions means the sale can go ahead at Drouot auction house Friday afternoon, giving a rare glimpse of the ornate masks and headdresses to the European crowd.
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The Hopi Indians insist the masks, known as 'katsinam' are spiritual vessels that date back to the late 19th century and early 20th century were stolen from a northern Arizona reservation in the 1930s and 1940s.
Numbering nearly 20,000, many remaining Hopi still lead a traditional way of life on three isolated Arizona mesas and believe the masks carry with them the spirit of divine messenger.
The auctioneer argued that blocking the sale would have tremendous implications and potentially force French museums to empty their collections
‘This decision is very disappointing since the masks will be sold and dispersed,’ said the tribe's French lawyer, Pierre Servan-Schreiber, outside the courtroom.
‘The Hopi tribe will be extremely saddened by the decision,’ he said. ‘Especially since the judgment recognizes that these masks have a sacred value. The judge considers that the imminent damage (to the masks) is not sufficiently strong.’
Sacred: The antique masks like the 'Hemiskatsinmana,' left, and 'Angwusnasomtaqa,' right, will be auctioned off Friday afternoon in Paris, worlds away from their Arizona origins, where the Hopi say they were stolen in the 1930s and 1940s
American ambassador to France Charles Rivkin expressed his disappointment over Friday’s ruling after writing a letter to the French government Thursday that urged the sale be suspended due to the ‘importance of these sacred objects to the Hopi Nation.’
The Hopis' lawyers have filed a request with the Council of Sales, the French auction market authority, to suspend the sale, he added.
A spokeswoman for the Council of Sales declined immediate comment.
Gilles Neret-Minet, of the Neret-Minet Tessier & Sarrou auction house behind the auction, said he would stop short of any triumphalism over the ruling, ‘but I'm happy that French law was respected.’
‘I am also very concerned about the Hopis' sadness, but you cannot break property law,’ he said. ‘These are in (private) collections in Europe: they are no longer sacred.’
Neret-Minet said the auction house has received ‘serious threats’ ahead of the auction.
Last week, in an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network, Neret-Minet was emphatic in his belief that the objects' meaning had little sway for him or France.
'France is a country of rights! All the mail in the world will not change anything,' he said. 'Those masks are only sacred when used in a dance. They are not sacred afterward.'
The 70 objects, mainly Hopi, went on display at Druout for the first time as the court battle kicked off Thursday.
Unheeded: Outcries over the sale of the masks (pictured are the 'Sio Hemis Cachina,' left, and 'Tasavu,' right) were heard Thursday and Friday from the U.S. ambassador to France, two American museums, as well as the Hopi people
The masks are undoubtedly striking — surreal faces made from wood, leather, horse hair and feathers — and painted in vivid pigments of red, blue, yellow and orange. Hopi representatives contend the items were stolen at some point, and wanted the auction house to prove otherwise. They say the masks have a special status and are more than art, representing their dead ancestors' spirits.
Disputes over art ownership, demands for restitution, and arguments over whether sacred objects should be sold are nothing new.
Take the continuing row between the British Museum and Greece over the Elgin marbles, which Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin removed from the Parthenon in the 19th century. Greece wants them back; but opponents fear that would open the floodgates, forcing Western museums to send home thousands of artifacts.
Baroness Thatcher memorabilia flooded the internet yesterday as her death brought a wave of fresh interest in the Iron Lady.
Thatcher egg cups, nut crackers and teapots were just some of the bizarre collectibles that sparked bidding wars on auction site eBay.
Signed copies of the Baroness’s memoirs, collectable newspapers and photographs are also up for grabs.
Bizarre collectibles: Thatcher egg cups, nut crackers and teapots were just some of the bizarre collectibles that sparked bidding wars on auction site eBay
The two most expensive items are leather-bound books signed by Thatcher, priced at £10,000 each.
Other items include a Spitting Image teapot, which has already attracted bids of £51.00 with six days to go.
Seller adthelad65 said: ‘This one belonged to my Mother who was an antique dealer. She was waiting for Maggie to pop her clogs before selling it. Maggie outlasted her...’
Other strange collectibles include a ‘Golly Badge’ featuring a blacked-up caricature of Thatcher drinking a pint of milk - a dig at her 1971 policy which earned her the nickname Milk Snatcher.
A life-size cardboard cut-out of the Iron Lady wearing a green suit and carrying her trademark black leather handbag is on sale for £34.99.
A Thatcher Falklands Mug which shows the actress Meryl Streep, who played the former prime minister in The Iron Lady film, leaning over a war map, is on sale with a starting bid of £6.99.
A thimble with the Iron Lady's face has been put on the auction website as well as a Spitting Image bust
A life-size cardboard cut-out of the Iron Lady wearing a green suit and carrying her trademark black leather handbag is on sale for £34.99
A signed Christmas Card featuring a photograph of Thatcher standing with husband Denis in Downing Street in the 1980s is expected to fetch £160.
A four-piece coaster set featuring pictures of the late politician are being sold for £6.99 while a rare Spitting Image doll from 1987 is being auctioned for £200.
Meanwhile a glazed white Toby Jug featuring Thatcher sitting on a high-backed throne is currently attracting bids of £89.
Internet entrepreneur Gavin Hodge, 30, from Warwick, who has made thousands of pounds from buying and selling collectable items from eBay, said: ‘It is always been a reality that when someone high profile dies, memorabilia associated with them goes up in value.
‘Signed autographed copies of books, cards and letters will probably fetch the highest prices while novelty goods like dolls and toys will probably go up 20 or 30 per cent.
‘Some people might think it’s ghoulish for people to profit from someone’s death but if you look back in history, masterpieces only got valuable after the artist had died.
‘As a champion of the free market, I think Maggie would probably have approved.’
Another collector found out that his extraordinary haul of Margaret Thatcher memorabilia is now worth £100,000.
Jason Cullen has spent two decades as an avid collector of the former Prime Minister's autograph.
Although he was just six years old when she became Prime Minister, he became fascinated with her career after she left Downing Street and started buying up all the memorabilia he could get his hands on.
Boom: The business selling signed photographs and other items has taken off since Lady Thatcher's death
Valuable: This signed copy of Lady Thatcher's memoir is worth more than £6,000 due to its rarity
The items signed by Lady Thatcher range from a numbered copy of her book The Downing Street Years valued at more than £6,000 to a Number 10 book plate worth £240.
Mr Cullen, 40, has started an online business selling the memorabilia from his home in Leeds - and since the great Prime Minister died on Monday he has received orders equivalent to several months of normal trading.
He opted against raising his prices after the death despite facing far greater demand than he normally would.
'Margaret Thatcher is one of Britain's most famous figures in recent years,' he said.
'I own the world's largest collection of Margaret Thatcher autographs available to purchase and the Iron Lady's signature commands a huge interest both in Britain and across the world.
'People either love her or loathe her, but what no-one can deny is that she altered the history of the UK - and the world - forever.'
Reminiscences: A book of memories by those who knew Lady Thatcher, with a parliamentary bookplate
A rare deep-blue diamond ring worth up to £1.5million could make history when it goes on sale.
The ‘fancy’ diamond - which will go under the hammer later this month - weighs 5.30 carats and is set in a Trombino ring made by renowned Italian jeweller Bulgari, who is favoured by Hollywood film stars.
The term ‘fancy’ is used to describe a diamond of intense colour, and the colour ‘fancy deep-blue’ is one of the rarest in the world.
The cushion-shaped diamond is set within a mount of brilliant-cut and baguette-cut diamonds. Blue diamonds are structurally very pure and account for less than 1 per cent of all diamonds mined.
The ring is thought to have been made in 1965 and is estimated to fetch up to £1.5million at Bonhams Fine Jewellery sale in Mayfair, central London, on April 24 at 2pm.
The world-record price for a fancy deep-blue diamond is £686,000 per carat but, according to staff at Bonhams, the Bulgari ring has the potential to break this.
Jean Ghika, director of the jewellery department, said: ‘There have only been 30 diamonds of this size and colour that have come up for sale globally over the last 10 years, which is a fraction of the percentage of white diamonds that have been sold during the same period of time.
'There are a number of people who are interested in this kind of stone because they don't come on the market very often'
Jean Ghika, Bonhams jewellery director
‘There are a number of people who are interested in this kind of stone because they don't come on the market very often. It attracts connoisseurs, collectors and people who just simply want to wear it because it's a wonderful stone.’
In September 2011 Bonhams sold a fancy vivid-blue diamond ring by Bulgari for £1.9million.
The ring, set with two pear-shaped diamonds, more than doubled the pre-sale estimate - which is why experts predict the Trombino Bulgari ring will produce another record-breaking sale.
Source: Daily Mail
Man sells rare coins he didn't know his father had collected for 20 years
A 'handful of change' discovered in a tool box was found to be a collection of rare coins - which fetched £30,000 at auction.
The historic currency remained untouched inside the rusting steel container after the owner died in the 1990s.
His son later opened his tool box and found the money - including gold sovereigns from the reigns of Queen Victoria and King George V and an 1887 Victorian five pound coin.
Paul Keen from the Plymouth Auction Rooms in Devon with the haul which was found in a tool box that hadn't been opened since the 1990s
The rare collection fetched double its £15,000 estimate after attracting bids from as far afield as Hong Kong, Russia, Australia and the US.
The Victorian coin alone was sold for £1,600, while a 1947 Mexican 50 pesos gold coin raised £1,050.
Auctioneer Paul Keen, of Plymouth Auction Rooms in Devon, said: 'It was not until our client finally opened his father's tool box, which had been kept under lock and key for several years, that he discovered how extensive his father's coin collection was.
'He was delighted there was an awful lot of interest from bidders locally and across the world.'
Fellow auctioneer Mike Bramhall added: 'From what we understand the father was a novice collector and he had built up this treasure trove over the years.
'But it appears that his son was unaware of the extent of the haul.'
The delicate fibres and the dyes of antique textiles and costumes make them particularly sensitive to changing atmospheric conditions.
Antique textiles need special protection as they are easily torn and absorb stains and smells. So keep them out of reach of children and pets, and away from smoke, food and drink. In a dry atmosphere, textiles can become brittle; in damp they rot with mildew and mould, and an overdose of light breaks down fibres, fades colours and causes discoloration. Many textiles incorporate materials of different strengths, such as beads or fine embroidery, which must be taken into consideration in cleaning and display. Handle antique textiles as little as possible to avoid damaging delicate fibres, and check them regularly for early signs of damage, mould or insect infestation.
Samplers and embroidered pictures are sometimes found mounted on stretchers like oil paintings, but this strains both fabric and stitches. Instead, any small, flat textile can be framed and mounted on a fabric-covered, acid-free board with a window mount to prevent the textile coming into direct contact with the glass. Never use drawing pins or staples to secure textiles as they tear the fibres and may corrode and stain the fabric. Stainless steel pins can be useful however, to support heavy folds which otherwise might sag and tear on a costume that is displayed on a stand (padded stands can be made to measure).
Every so often, give an antique costume or textile a rest from display – a conservator will advise how often. Choose a dark, dry place, and remove any pins. Always wrap in acid-free materials, never coloured tissue or newspaper as both are highly acidic. Store coloured and white fabrics separately just in case dyes run. When packing, avoid sharp folds- use tissue if necessary to support the inside of any creases – as they strain the fabric.
Lay textiles horizontally or rolled around a roll of card or tissue, and interleave with more tissue or linen and an inert stuffing material. Place a final layer of tissue over the items and put them in a container lined with acid-free material. Large costumes can be hung on a padded wooden hanger (never wire as it might corrode and stain the fabric) and protected from dust by a cotton or calico bag. Check that the garment hangs well – that the shoulder of the garment is not too long and distorts the fall of the sleeves, for example.
Mothballs may help deter pests and mould, but they should neither come into contact with the fabric, nor take the place of regular checking. As long as they have not begun to attack the fabric, insect larvae or mould can be brushed off gently. Do this outside on a fine day, away from other textiles when the fabric is dry and well aired. Serious infestation should be dealt with by a conservator.
Cleaning and Repair
There is a high risk is irreparably damaging and devaluing an important or delicate antique fabric by inexpert cleaning or repair. Before attempting any spot removal, or wet or dry cleaning of any antique textile, check with an expert as it may need to receive special treatment from a conservator.
Every time a textile is cleaned, it gets a little weaker; it is therefore wise to tolerate a certain level of dirt. Never iron dirty textiles as heat seals dust into the fabric, fixes stains and may cause fading. If the fabric is sound and has no loose bits like beads or tassels, dust can be removed by gentle vacuuming. If necessary, cover the nozzle with a fine-mesh net or stocking and secure with an elastic band. Feathers, sequins and elaborately decorated fabrics can be dusted with a soft brush or blown with a hairdryer set on cool.
A textile conservator is able to restore torn areas almost invisibly, matching dyes, threads and tension, and can strengthen weak fabrics by ‘couching’ onto a backing with very fine thread and stitching. Conservators generally avoid using glue, as it is rarely reversible and may stain or destroy the texture of the textile. However, to fix something that was glued originally, a water-based adhesive such as Tenaxatex may be used.