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ICS Sydney - International Conservation Services

vaucluse house gilt leather dining chairs



Vaucluse House gilt leather dining chairs


Historic Houses Trust of NSW


Textiles Conservation, Furniture Conservation 


These nine gilt leather dining chairs, which reside in the dining room of Vaucluse House, Sydney, were in various conditions when we were commissioned to treat them. The leather has a central vase and surrounding flower and leaf design embossed, and is highlighted with tones of gold, lilac and green on a predominantly maroon background. The seats of each chair and the armrests of the carver are bordered by a strip of gold gilt leather attached with a series of large brass upholstery pins. The chairs are a rare and fine example of Spanish embossed leather and are understood to date back to the Wentworth occupancy of the house (1827-1863). Six of the chairs were in fair condition, two were in poor condition while the last chair had been entirely recovered at some point during its life. Much of the surface of the leather was blanched and very dirty, and there were numerous holes throughout the surface of the leather. The treatment devised for the nine chairs had to encompass both previous treatments and the fragile nature of the chairs. We therefore designed a treatment which would stabilise areas of damage and bridge cracks and losses to make the chairs appear more coherent.


  • Surface clean
  • Patching losses in leather
  • Infilling losses and cracks
  • Inpainting losses
  • Waxing of wooden elements









Vaucluse House chairs before treatment

Chair before treatment

Vaucluse House chairs during treatment

During treatment

Vaucluse House chairs during treatment (with patches)

During treatment

Vaucluse House chairs after treatment

After treatment