The Queen’s Inner Hall will be receiving special attention this week by the Castle’s Monument Conservation Unit and Historic Scotland’s Collections Unit. Throughout the week the five Unicorn Tapestries and the Cloth of Estate that decorate the room will be taken down and cleaned using specialist conservation equipment.
Expert conservators will also be on hand to assist with examining the condition of the textiles and cleaning them before they are rehung. Carrying out this work forms part of the housekeeping programme for the rooms in the Castle’s Palace. As these items are displayed high up, scaffolding is needed to reach them. Each textile will be lowered to the ground, and assessed and cleaned on site with visitors able to view the work in progress.
The cleaning is in advance of the installation of the sixth tapestry in the Unicorn series, The Unicorn Leaps, which will be on display to visitors from the end of October. The tapestries, part of a series of seven, were specially commissioned to adorn the walls of the palace and are based on a set held by the Metropolitan Museum in New York.
The Met tapestries are based on a set from the Low Counties and date from the 1500’s. It is documented that James V, who commissioned the palace had two sets of unicorn tapestries that would have adorned the very walls of the palace that visitors can see to this day.
Historic Scotland Collections Unit