Architectural Woodwork

In 2009 the Victoria and Albert Museum opened it’s new Medieval and Renaissance galleries. In the day-lit gallery on the first floor it exhibits important pieces of architectural woodwork. Among these is Sir Paul Pindar’s house facade – a  fragment of a timber frame front of a London house. The house was built in about 1600 and is one of the rare wooden buildings that survived the fatal fire of 1666.

Prior to the conservation treatment an archaeological building survey recorded the original structure, alterations and all later additions. Many parts, like the glazing and roof, were added most likely in the museum in around 1909. Curators and designers therefore decided for a display in which the house front was “freed” from the non original elements. The old wooden support structure was replaced with a steel work structure that supports the two floors independently at the two floor levels.

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The conservation treatment plan included a major wood consolidation campaign of degraded architectural elements. These were mainly protruding horizontal pieces, where rain would most often hit and sit. Other areas of concern were structural damages to original joints of the structure and the interior paneling.

 

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Some pieces of wood were identified as being suitable for dendrochronological dating. The interior woodwork could be place as being from the Eastern Baltic whereas the timber for the exterior panels comes from local forests in Essex, near London. The dating is in line with the historical data.

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