The Hamilton Inn Sofa is believed to be one of the earliest pieces of Tasmanian made furniture. Its relatively unaltered/unrestored state makes it very significant.
In 2005, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery acquired the Sofa with the generous support of Federal Resorts.
The auction itself was quite a saga as the Sofa was knocked down to TMAG for $54,000, before a NSW bidder contested the hammer price and the auctioneer was forced to reopen the bidding. The end result was the second highest price ever paid for a piece of Australian colonial furniture. Read an anecdote from the Director of TMAG about the acquisition of the sofa.
Manufactured around 1820, the Regency style Hamilton Inn Sofa needed conservation to stabilise the upholstery and framework. In 2008, TMAG became the first recipient of substantial funding from the Copland Foundation Conservation Grant Program. This funded the initial Conservation Plan as well as the subsequent conservation, both undertaken by International Conservation Services.
Extensive research has been undertaken to establish just how significant this Sofa is to Tasmanian and Australian history. No other piece like it is known to exist. Read more about its history on the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery website.
Considerable time and expertise has gone into deciding the best way to conserve the Sofa for the future. The following stories, written by the conservators doing the work, describe the conservation treatment of the Sofa.