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Chandelier at Oxburgh Hall dating back to 19th century undergoes huge clean





A cut-glass chandelier dating back to the 19th century has undergone a huge clean as part of the ongoing conservation work at the Oxburgh Estate.

Arriving at Oxburgh in the 20th century, the chandelier is affectionately known as the ‘Woollies chandelier’ by the team due to the support of the heir to the Woolworths Foundation in obtaining it.

Almost 2,000 crystal pieces adorn the chandelier which hangs in the saloon at Oxburgh Hall and around every five years, staff and volunteers painstakingly remove and label each piece.

The team at Oxburgh Hall clean the 19th century chandelier at the stately home. Picture: Mike Hodgson
The team at Oxburgh Hall clean the 19th century chandelier at the stately home. Picture: Mike Hodgson
The team at Oxburgh Hall clean the 19th century chandelier at the stately home. Picture: Mike Hodgson
The team at Oxburgh Hall clean the 19th century chandelier at the stately home. Picture: Mike Hodgson

Shona Johnston, property curator at Oxburgh Estate, said: “Whilst the dismantling process takes place, meticulous care is taken to record any changes to the surface of each crystal such as cracks, chips, or crazing.

“Each piece is then dusted with a soft pony-hair brush before being wet cleaned with cotton wool buds.

“The pieces are then all individually polished to a high shine before being reinstalled.

The chandelier at Oxburgh Hall. Picture: Mike Hodgson
The chandelier at Oxburgh Hall. Picture: Mike Hodgson
The intricate process of cleaning parts of the chandelier. Picture: Mike Hodgson
The intricate process of cleaning parts of the chandelier. Picture: Mike Hodgson

“The metal frame is also assessed and cleaned, and fresh light bulbs are installed. All in all, the process is a huge team effort that takes the best part of a week to complete.”

Oxburgh Estate has been the home of the Bedingfeld family for more than 500 years, and they still live in private apartments within the hall today.

A National Trust spokesperson said that the hall has undergone numerous changes as fashions, tastes and circumstances have altered over its 500-year history, including periods of great hardship endured by the Bedingfelds.

“As devout Catholics, the family were persecuted heavily in the 16th and 17th centuries and there is even a 16th century priest hole on display which offers visitors a glimpse into Oxburgh’s turbulent past,” they said.

The chandelier at Oxburgh Hall. Picture: Mike Hodgson
The chandelier at Oxburgh Hall. Picture: Mike Hodgson

“Built after the demolition of the original Great Hall, the saloon, where the chandelier hangs today, was built in a neo-classical style on the site of the former kitchen in the 1780s for the 4th Baronet.

“In the mid-19th century, the 6th Baronet attempted to make the room look slightly more medieval by blocking up the sash-windows in the end walls and inserting neo-gothic windows on the south side.

“He also hung red flock wallpaper made by the interior decorator J. D. Crace to a design by A. W. N. Pugin, who masterminded the decoration of the Houses of Parliament. The curtains, with their elaborate neo-gothic gilded curtain boxes, may also have been designed by Pugin.”



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