17th century oak panelling, in main first floor public room at Bessie Surtees House (north-east regional headquarters) for Historic England, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Tidying, repairing and conserving 17th century oak panelling.
The treatment work I carried out was primarily to improve overall colour, appearance and surface lustre of the floor-to-ceiling panelling and decorative fireplace in this large room (approx. 30’ x 19’), where in bright sunlit conditions surfaces had dulled and lightened.
It is likely this panelling has been relocated, rather than being original to the room, but almost certainly originated in the local Newcastle area. Previous owners of the property were saving and reusing historic materials as other old nearby properties perished.
Assisted by my two full-time employees on this project, together we worked through the room.
All surfaces were prepared with ultra-fine grey mesh pads (steel free) to gently smooth, and remove perished surface residues without removing sound surface polishes. Excessively pale panels, frames and edges were toned to balance overall colour using light fast tint polishes and pigments. Many splintering edges of mouldings and facings were reglued using traditional scotch glue and several loose frames, facings and applied carved mouldings were also consolidated.
Finally, every oak detail was carefully waxed with traditional polishes, well rubbed in, and well rubbed off, to give an attractive mellow sheen, fully retaining the deep texture of the aged surfaces.