HLF funding transforms museum objects


The new Huguenot Museum exhibits objects never seen by the public before. The collections have been conserved, repaired and cleaned by a team of experts using our Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant. This doll from 1887 belongs to the Ouvry family and is dressed in the uniform of the Westminster French School which was founded in 1747. It is an enigmatic piece and was kept at the school before it was closed. This early photograph shows the doll in her outfit being held by a group of pupils wearing the same uniform.

The doll has a porcelain head, hands and feet with a fabric body. She wears a blue woollen dress, white cotton bonnet and apron in the style of the Huguenot School uniform. Before conservation the dolls blue dress was severely faded, her hair was tangled and her head had come loose. The textile conservator painstakingly removed each layer of the doll’s outfit in order to clean and restore her. The paint on the dolls face and the glue fixing her hair were both water-soluble so were cleaned without liquid and her head was re-attached using cotton tape. The clothing was wet cleaned to bring back their original lustre and were pressed before the doll was re-dressed. Finally the bonnet was re-shaped by padding it with white nylon net. Around 10 hours work went into the conservation of our Huguenot School doll.

It is one of many items, from paper to clocks and portraits, that the museum has preserved for generations to come.