Spring clean for Castle Drogo's tapestries
Staff at one of the Westcountry's most famous heritage attractions have begun the painstaking process of spring cleaning some of its huge tapestries.
The National Trust's Castle Drogo – the last large castle to be built in England – was created as a family home by wealthy businessman Julius Drewe at the beginning of the 20th century.
Drewe decorated his new property, designed by architect Edwin Lutyens, with a number of tapestries from his family home at Wadhurst Hall in East Sussex, while others were purchased specifically for his new home.
Two of the tapestries depict the storming of Troy, which were originally among a four-art set, while the largest depicts the grisly tale of the beheading of Holofernes by Judith.
The last time the works were removed from the walls of the castle was in the 1990s when their fixings were exchanged for more sympathetic Velcro.
Now, staff are embarking on the tricky task of removing almost 20 years of dust from the delicate pieces.
Bryher Mason, house and collections manager at Castle Drogo, explained: "They are cleaned by gently vacuuming back and front using a low suction vacuum cleaner with adjustable suction levels.
"Gauze is also placed over the tapestry and the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner to ensure that it is only dust and dirt we are removing and not any textile.
"They are then lined with acid-free tissue and rolled on pipes to be stored for the duration of the project. They will be re-hung once the work is complete."