While Rouse Hill Estate is temporarily closed to visitors, we are busy behind the scenes inspecting, cleaning and caring for the collection. Recently, we removed the covers on the principal bed so that we could clean the frame below. This was also a good opportunity to peel back the bedding layer by layer and inspect the covers for dust and pests.

In contrast to Elizabeth Farm, where the main bed is a high quality replica with reproduction bedding to match, the bed and bedding at Rouse Hill are original. The four post bed dates to the 1820s , making it one of the oldest pieces of furniture in the house. The bed hanging dates from the late nineteenth century. The bed covers are more recent, and include a yellow and white acrylic wool bed cover. This layering of objects from different periods is typical of the collection kept in the house.

The removal and reinstatement of the bedcovers is a delicate operation. Each layer is carefully removed and laid flat, taking care around the fragile bed hangings. The bed frame is cleaned by directing dust into the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner with a soft paint brush. And the bed covers are gently lifted back into place once the cleaning has been done.

About the author

Portrait of man in open-necked white shirt.

Dr Carlin de Montfort

Assistant curator

Carlin de Montfort is an assistant curator in the House Museums portfolio.