Queen Victoria has processed through the mansion and the next restoration project has begun!
In early January 2018, Belmont Mansion entered its exciting next chapter when we commenced the restoration of the main staircase and stair hall. The first order of business on this three month project was the removal of the 9 foot tall portrait of Queen Victoria which hangs in the same location it did during Adelicia's lifetime. Removal was necessary to protect Queen Victoria and to allow work to proceed, so the painting was lowered from its prominent position overlooking the Grand Salon.
Queen Victoria has been moved to temporary chambers for a three month rest. During this time the painting will receive an inspection by art conservator, Cynthia Stowe. Additionally, the painting will be removed from its frame so that the frame’s unique and delicate finish can be cleaned and conserved. This large frame is a mahogany veneer over pine with French polish used to accentuate the elaborate book matched grain. The polish has been obscured by aged varnish and so will be restored to its full glory.
French polishing is a long process requiring multiple layers of varnish with each layer polished to produce a high gloss finish. The frame’s liner, currently painted, will be re-gilded to return it to a period appropriate finish. When the restoration of the stair hall is complete and the painting is re-hung on newly marbleized walls over the staircase with newly restored faux grained English oak risers and mahogany stained balusters it will produce a presence worthy of her Excellency.