Grant Scheme

Tru Vue Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme

Award Year


Grant Sum Awarded


Icon Accredited Conservator

Stephen Umpleby ACR


Van Gogh House is a grade II Georgian Terrace house that is over 200 years old. Our most famous resident was the artist, Vincent Van Gogh, however, during the conservation of the house several children’s toys and writing samples were found under the floorboards. Some of these objects belonged to a young boy named James Wigmore. The objects gave us insight into other residents that have lived in the house, helping us gain a greater understanding of the house.

This grant was used to conserve James’s toys and others that were found in the house and put them on display. The grant was used to fund the conservation of these objects and fund the installation of the new Tru Vue materials helping us put these objects on show for all our visitors to enjoy their stories.

To complete this project, we worked with:
● Icon member Stephen Umpleby ACR, a conservator based in London who has a special interest in the conservation of children’s toys.
● Conor Meehan from Triskele Conservation to install the new display and materials. We have worked with Conor before during the initial conservation of the house.

The objects that we conserved are wooden, ceramic and cloth toys that were found hidden under the floorboards of Van Gogh House during conservation. They belonged to James Wigmore who lived here in 1861. James was the eldest of 7 boys and we believe was hiding his toys from his younger brothers. We intend to display some objects as they were found, under the floorboards, keeping true to James and his story.

With the funding, we have been able to have 26 items conserved and recorded by conservator Stephen Umpleby. We’ve learnt a lot more about these objects and their use.

A display box has been made for the conserved toys.

This project will benefit Van Gogh House London in several ways. The project will allow us to engage further with our collection enabling us to showcase the vast tapestry of people that have lived in the house and the objects that they left behind. In turn this will attract more visitors to the house.

We have previously engaged with local primary schools that are extremely interested in these objects and their story. Having these objects on display and conserved would allow us to engage further with these schools benefiting both the house and the local community. The house is full of stories that have yet to be uncovered but this grant allowed us to showcase and display one such story.

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