Lord Effingham Leaves the Billiard Room

One of our largest paintings moved to a temporary new home a few weeks ago! Why did he go away, you might ask?

As part of the National Trust’s care of the objects in our collections, we send objects which need it away for professional conservation and cleaning. The large portrait below has been transported away and will return (hopefully) looking much brighter.

The painting that has gone away for conservation is called ‘Portrait of Charles Howard, Lord Howard of Effingham, 1st Earl of Nottingham’ by Daniel Mytens the elder. It dates to 1620.

Lord Effingham on the wall of the Billiard Room

Lord Howard was commander-in-chief of the English fleet against the Spanish in 1588. The picture is what is known as a ‘swagger portrait’, intended to show off the wealth, power, and social status of the sitter. The subject would usually be standing and the painting would be hung high up in a room to make the viewer ‘look up’ to the painting, whilst the figure in the portrait can look down and masterfully survey the room.

Today’s blog post shares the process of taking such a large painting off the wall, out of Nostell, and away for conservation.

Carefully manouvering Effingham down onto the floor. He was very heavy!

Beginning the packing process. Many layers of tape, acid-free tissue and bubble wrap will be added to thoroughly protect the painting for the journey

The painting is packed in what’s known as ‘soft wrap’. ‘Hard wrap’ is when a solid structure (such as a wooden crate) is used to home an object for transportation. As Lord Howard isn’t going too far, then soft wrap is fine for this journey

Taking down Lord Howard has revealed a problem – the wall behind shows flaking paint. This will need to be checked out by our buildings team, as it could indicate a problem with the wall (for example, the wall could be damp)

Here comes the hard part – negotiating the painting around the bannisters, through Nostell, and out into the awaiting van

A tricky point

Going down!

Watch your heads!

Almost there…

Into the van…

And we’re done! Hopefully the painting will be back with us in a few months

A close-up of the stern face of Lord Howard of Effingham

I wonder what Lord Howard will think of his temporary home for the next few months? Judging by his expression in the above photo, I think he’ll be much happier when he returns to Nostell! We look forward to seeing Lord Howard back where he belongs.

Thank-you to the outdoors team, who helped with the move of Lord Howard out into the van.


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