Date completed : 15 March 2019 Duration : 24 Months
Sophie Younger

Inveraray Castle is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll, a massive Victorian building in which  a large collection of art and historic furnishings are on display to visitors.  There are many artefacts within the castle, including textiles and works on paper, that are vulnerable to light damage. Blind systems for the reduction of light can be quite intrusive as well as demanding of staff time and the Duke requested that alternatives were trialled in order to ensure that he would be happy with the results. The aspect, contents and function of each room were studied and their light levels recorded using spot readings; the effectiveness of existing light control methods was assessed as well as how alternative solutions would affect the appearance of the Castle from the exterior; it was also necessary to determine what the staffing requirements would be.

The initial proposal for the ground floor windows was a double roller blind system, which comprised two blinds mounted together: one was of blackout material and the second a transparent fabric, Vision, that reduces visible light.  For the saloon, which had the largest suite of windows in the Castle, YCL deployed the more robust ‘cap & rack’ spring roller blind, a metal barrel housing a helical coil spring and nylon end blocks operated using a ratchet system.

A different, bespoke light control solution was designed and fabricated for the first floor of the Castle where window panes were smaller and there were fewer light sensitive materials on display. Fixed screens were cut by YCL from the ‘Vision’ fabric to either half or full window length: these ‘fixed screen’ blinds were trialled on their own and in conjunction with a blackout roller and the best options selected.

The Duke and his staff were kept informed throughout the trials: following which the results were discussed, works costed and contracts issued to the desired timetable for completion over two seasons at times when the castle was not busy. YCL enjoyed meeting the challenge of working in such a large and historic setting and everyone was delighted that the trials allowed us to reach the best solutions possible. 

Light Management: Inveraray Castle, Argyll.
Light Management: Inveraray Castle, Argyll.

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