One of the museum’s most magnificent tapestries was recently cleaned. Woven of silk and wool in the 17th century, the textile depicts the death of Dido, the Queen of Carthage. The story derives from Book IV of Virgil’s The Aeneid, where he recounts the love between Dido and the Trojan hero Aeneas. Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, an Italian Baroque artist, created the design.

The cleaning of this textile began with a gentle vacuuming. Afterwards, it was rolled onto a tube for transport to a wet bath where a series of rinses loosened decades, perhaps centuries, of soot and dust particles. The tapestry dried over a fine vinyl covered mesh overnight. The following day, it was hung between a series of lifts which allowed textile conservator Stan Deralian, along with the Museum’s conservator and curators, to examine the results of the cleaning and determine whether areas suspected as weak were actually in need of further conservation. The entire process took three days. This project is part of the Museum’s ongoing initiative to assure the preservation and integrity of its collection, and for the enjoyment of our visitors.

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for more information on the tapestries in the Norton Simon Museum collection. 

Image credit:
Death of Dido, c. 1620-40
After Giovanni Francesco Romanelli 
Italian, 1610-1662
Wool and silk tapestry (woven by Michel Wauters after Romanelli cartoon)
158-½ x 224-¾ in. (402.6 x 570.9 cm)
© 2013 The Norton Simon Foundation

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