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Watch as a masterpiece is restored back to its former glory -conservation in action at Tatton Park

Ever wondered about the amount of care and detail required tojulia-dalzell-and-caroline-schofield-with-the-cheshire-hunt-painting
conserve and restore a very old and valuable painting? Then you
could learn a lot by witnessing conservation in action in the mansion this summer as Tatton Park embarks on a delicate project to conserve The Cheshire Hunt, one of the most important paintings at Tatton Park.

The Cheshire Hunt, painted by Manchester-based artist Henry Calvert (1798-1869) in 1839, is the largest painting at Tatton measuring almost 4 metres wide and 3 metres high and depicts several Egerton family members enjoying the then fashionable activity of fox hunting. It provides a unique record of the social history of Cheshire and the North West; many of the huntsmen depicted in the painting having interests not only in rural Cheshire but in nearby Manchester, hive of the Industrial Revolution. The painting captures the sporting aristocratic gentlemen of the county and was instigated by Wilbraham Egerton of Tatton (1781 – 1856) who had become Father of the Tarporley Hunt Club at this time.

The painting is the focal point of the grand mansion entrance hall and today it still provides the huge and impressive impact it had on visitors to the Egerton’s country house in the 19th and 20th century.

Conservation work is being carried out by oil paintings conservator and restorer Julia Dalzell ACR FBPACR (Accredited with ICON and Fellow of the British Association of Paintings Conservators Restorers).

Julia is a highly experienced practitioner and very familiar with the Tatton painting collection. She has been working with the Tatton team to conserve its paintings over the past few years and is a National Trust approved paintings conservator.  She will spend the next few months in public view carrying out intricate work on The Cheshire Hunt including the removal of old varnishes and over paint from previous conservation treatments. Julia will then be laying and securing the flaking paint and finally re-filling previously lost areas to bring The Cheshire Hunt back to the masterpiece Henry Calvert originally created.

Julia is experienced in public engagement having led another ambitious project at Manchester Art Gallery from 2006-2008 to conserve the Victorian masterpiece, The Sirens and Ulysses by William Etty, measuring 3m by 4.5m, with the restoration work done in the public view.

Julia commented. “I have been looking forward to working on this magnificent piece for sometime, particularly as it will enable the visitors to engage with conservation and see firsthand the intricate work that is necessary to preserve a wonderful painting like this. The sheer scale of this masterpiece lends itself well to a project like this.”.

Vicky Rowbotham, Tatton Park Learning and Visitor Services manager added “We are so pleased to be carrying out this exciting project during 2014 on such an important painting in the Tatton collection. We hope that our visitors who made the project possible will enjoy this unique opportunity to see the Cheshire Hunt close – up, learn about conservation techniques sand see the painting restored to its former glory”.

The venture is just one of a wide range of initiatives that form the Tatton Park Vision, a five year plan to develop new and existing experiences. In carrying out valuable conservation and restoration work to ensure that its collection maintains the best possible conditions Tatton Park will be giving visitors a `once in a lifetime’ experience.

The project has been made possible thanks to the generosity of Tatton Park’s visitors who contributed over £13,000 towards the project through the National Trust 2013 Raffle. Additional support has been given by the Tatton Park Charitable Trust and the East Cheshire National Trust Centre.

Visitors will be able to see Julia at work in the Mansion initially every Tuesday and Friday from Tuesday May 13th until Friday June 20th with the project continuing until the end of October 2014. 

Mansion opening times and prices

The mansion is open to visitors in high season (until Nov 2nd) from Tuesday to Sunday. Open 1pm – 5pm, last entry 4pm (except 30 Sept to 2 Nov when open 12pm – 4pm, last entry 3pm).

Prices for single attraction entry: adult £6, child £4 (aged four to 15 years of age), family £16 (two adults and up to three children).

Totally Tatton Ticket (entry to three attractions: mansion, gardens and farm): Adult £11, child (aged four to 15) £5.50, family (two adults and up to three children) £27.50. National Trust members pay 50% entry to the farm.  Park entry charge of £5 per car applies to all.

For further information about this release contact: 
Vicky Wilby, Marketing Department Tel: 01625 374417 / Email: Vicky.wilby@cheshireeast.gov.uk

For more information about the Hidden Histories project visit www.hiddenhistories.co.uk

Tatton Park is managed and financed by Cheshire East Council on behalf of the National Trust. This impressive historic estate receives in the region of 800,000 visitors every year all of whom come to enjoy its Georgian mansion, Tudor Old Hall, award- winning gardens and 1930s rare breeds farm.  The 1,000-acre deer park is home to red and fallow deer and the estate also boasts speciality shops, adventure playground, restaurant, new Gardener’s Cottage tea room and a year-round events programme.

The Tatton Park Vision

The `Tatton Park Vision’ is the park’s 5 year vision for its visitor activities and aims to substantially develop its visitor experience by increasing the attractions and activities on offer. In delivering the vision the aim is to fully realise Tatton Park’s potential and present the best possible experience for its current and new visitors in order to provide new and sustainable income to help manage and conserve the historic estate into the future. By 2016/17 it is expected that over 1 million visitors a year will enjoy this experience. This will be done through a programme of investment by Cheshire East Council and the attraction of new business. More information about the vision.

The Tatton Park Charitable Trust

The Tatton Park Charitable Trust is a registered charity that supports the conservation of Tatton Park for current and future generations. The Trust raises funds to meet its charitable objects. The sale in 2006 of the right to use the M1 registration on the highway provided the initial funds for the Trust’s work. The Trust will continue to seek further funds from donations, bequests and fundraising activities.  Projects already being funded by the Trust include conservation of rare books and manuscripts, conservation and interpretation of Tatton’s historic vehicles and providing fully accessible play equipment.

You can contact the Tatton Park Trust via: Brendan Flanagan, Tatton Park, Knutsford Cheshire WA16 6QN.

Charity Number: 1111357