One of the more unusual projects that Orbis has completed this year has been the conservation of a castle entirely constructed from wine corks. Belonging to the Museum of Everything, this piece is a wonderfully meticulous example of Edwardian outsider art.

Presented in a vitrine, the castle had dried out over the past century resulting in a very brittle and delicate condition: many elements had become dislodged and damaged, requiring careful consolidation and repair.

The treatment included removal and restoration of the damaged vitrine and a thorough cleaning and conservation treatment of the castle.

Whilst working on the object the skill and painstaking attention to detail of the artist became increasingly apparent- the repair of sets of railings of just over 1mm in width proved an exacting challenge! The fragile flagpole had been previously broken and re-attached- after thorough consolidation, we devised a miniature dowel and sleeve solution to ensure the safe transportation of such delicate components.

Where elements had been lost, tiny reproductions were carved from old wine corks and attached under magnification. We also discovered that the “stained glass windows” were fully functional and when illuminated from the inside gave the castle a magical quality.

Conserved, cleaned and back to its repaired vitrine this fascinating object will now be on display to delight visitors to the museum both in London and as part of a touring exhibition.

Orbis Conservation