The Red House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, Britten-Pears Foundation
Following an advisory visit in 2012, I was asked to prepare a variety of textiles on open display in the Suffolk home of composer Benjamin Britten and singer Peter Pears, in preparation for a major reopening in 2013. The objects ranged from 1960’s curtains, as part of the original interior decoration, Indian embroideries collected on travels, window seat textiles made from fabric designed by John Piper for Sanderson, to costume, including original items of clothing worn by Benjamin Britten when conducting. I worked closely with the Curator to present the objects within the context of the house, and with the exhibition planners to design supports for the costume within the limits of the new gallery.
The requirements of the HLF funding called for a volunteer project. To meet this request I helped set up a project to enlist and work with a volunteer sewing group in relining the 1960’s orange velvet curtains for the Entrance Hall. The Curtains were part of the newly designed Entrance Hall, decorated for a visit by the Queen in 1967. This was an enjoyable shared experience, engaging with a wider community and working together onsite in the Drawing Room of The Red House. I learnt a lot from working with volunteers, who came from outside the conservation world, using my experience to lead them in the task. We worked together well and were able to achieve excellent results on a limited budget. I also benefited by learning from the volunteers about the context of the collection and the Britten-Pears Foundation.