Arlington Court has launched an ambitious £50,000 fundraising appeal to save the rare silk hangings in its boudoir.
The opulent room is a defining feature of the Regency house at Arlington Court in North Devon, which was gifted to the National Trust in 1945.
However, now the crimson and gold silk damask, one of the few surviving original decorative features in the house, is in danger of being lost.
Now the National Trust is hoping to raise £50,000 to put towards vital conservation work to help save it.
As part of the campaign, a special partnership silk exhibition has also been installed in the house, highlighting some of the problems and conservation methods associated with caring for precious silk artefacts.
The exhibition includes previously unseen items from the costume and textile collection, including a dress made of 18th century silk.
Paula Martin, house and collections manager at Arlington, said: “Over 200 years of light damage and natural wear and tear have taken its toll on the beautiful silks in the boudoir.
“If conservation work is not undertaken soon the silk will continue to deteriorate leaving little of the stunning work left so we want to ensure that this is protected for ever, for everyone to enjoy.’
In 2017 the National Trust commissioned a special report to assess the extent of the damage and see if conservation work was possible.
Despite the deterioration and delicate nature of the silk, the experts are confident that it will be possible to preserve much of the original material.
The work will have to take place in situ, as the silk is too fragile to remove from the walls. This will also offer visitors a unique opportunity to see specialised conservation work in action.
“We wanted to help people understand how we look after these precious materials,” added Paula.
“The silk in the boudoir is a really important part of Arlington’s history and collection, and we want to make sure it is preserved for many more people to enjoy.”
The conservators at Arlington Court hope the work can start in April 2019, but will need the help of visitors and supporters to reach their target of £50,000 and get the work underway.
Visitors can support the project by purchasing raffle tickets at the property or adding 50p to their bill in the tea-rooms.
Fundraising Friday’s will also be taking place throughout the summer, providing more information about the project and various activities to get involved with.
For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/arlington-court