AIM Pilgrim Trust remedial conservation grant – Chiddingstone Castle

AIM Pilgrim Trust remedial conservation grant – Chiddingstone Castle
Grant award: £3,372 
Conservation of Charles 1 leather bottle 

Included in the Castle’s Stuart and Jacobite collection is a large bottle in the shape of Charles I, constructed from various tanned and decorated leather materials. His hat is removable, revealing the neck of the bottle. The remedial conservation scheme has enabled us to conserve, stabilise, and repair the leather bottle so that it can be displayed to the public. The bottle has been cleaned, treated for red rot, stabilised, and strengthened using Japanese paper and archival board. The arms have been re-attached and splits and tears to the leather have been repaired.    

The project has achieved everything we expected. A key factor in the success of this project was the opportunity to work with the Leather Conservation Centre. Their specialism in historic leather has made it possible to transform the condition and appearance of the bottle. The Leather Conservation Centre also built a bespoke storage box that the bottle will be stored in after it has been on display. The box opens on either side so that the bottle can be accessed safely. Recommendations for display, handling, and storage were included in the treatment report. 

The appearance of the bottle has been transformed and its condition improved significantly so that it can now be displayed for members of the public to view and enjoy. The project has been important for the mission of the Denys Eyre Bower Bequest – to preserve Bower’s collections in his home. We know that he lived at the castle, he displayed the bottle to visitors as an important object from his Stuart and Jacobite collection. This grant has enabled us to bring the bottle back out on display once more.  

We were very grateful to be able to request further funding from AIM Pilgrim Trust after the assessment of the bottle revealed further issues that were not previously apparent.  

Naomi Collick, Curator, Chiddingstone Castle 

Pictured: Charles 1 bottle back on display at Chiddingstone Castle