Houses of Parliament Furniture and Decorative Arts Historic Collection
Extensive conservation treatment and restoration of two Pugin coat racks
Ian Clark was commissioned to undertake a condition survey and prepare a repair methodology to carry out an extensive conservation project to conserve 2 “working” coat racks held within the furniture and decorative arts historic collections of the Palace of Westminster.
The coat rack design and manufacture are attributed to Augustus Pugin or as the work of his sons working as Pugin & Pugin.
The coat racks are in constant use within the Palace and provide an culturally important operational function of daily life.
The design and manufacture is bespoke.
Many of the components are very specific and sympathetic to Pugin origin’s and have an inspired design where the architectural aesthetic form and function is understated, appreciative of the golden mean and ultimately beautiful in their conception.
Through the rigors of time many of the original fixings securing the coat racks together had vibrated loose and had become detached and lost. The overall condition reflected the constant and repeated use of providing a simple but important element of working life for hanging coats, hats, scarfs and umbrellas.
As a metals conservator the most inspiring element of this project was being able to immerse yourself in the design and functionality of a Pugin masterpiece and rejoice in unpicking the original design to help you recreate the missing parts.
The ball-nose bolts and rosette nuts were a wonderful example of Pugin’s ability to design a functional part that had the technical ability to fulfill the design brief as well as providing an understated beauty.
The project involved producing resin moulds of the original components, manufacturing new castings, fabricating new decorative brass frameworks, scrolls and fixings and carrying out an extensive conservation clean and the application of protective coatings