£3m gift for National Trust to conserve and protect historic treasures

A £3 million gift to the National Trust will help it conserve historic objects including objects in West Sussex. 

The gift from American charity the Royal Oak Foundation, which raises support for the National Trust in the US, will help five years of conservation work and protect more than a hundred historic artworks, the Trust said.

A set of nine early 17th century carved, painted and partially gilded Italianate sgabello chairs from Petworth House, West Sussex, which need structural treatment and conservation of their highly decorative surfaces, are among the first objects that will benefit from the funding.

It will fund work mainly based at the charity’s specialist conservation studio at Knole, in Kent.

It will also include other areas of England, such as an oil painting of Sir John Maitland, from Ham House, in London, which is in need of conservation work including removal of varnish and overpaint.

In 2017 X-ray analysis revealed what is believed to be an unfinished portrait of Mary Queen of Scots hidden beneath it, and conservators now hope to learn more about the painting through technical art historical investigations.

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