Joining the pieces

Joining the pieces

Conservators at Dorset History Centre have restored the Wimborne St Giles estate map, which dates from 1659, to its former glory.

The work has taken several weeks to complete and was funded by the owner Lord Shaftesbury. It involved cleaning, repairing and then re-joining the six separate sheets of parchment (animal skin).

The hand-drawn, colour map shows field systems and land ownership in mid-17th Century Wimborne St Giles and gives wonderful details of the topographical and agricultural features of the day. Relatively few maps from this period have survived and it forms part of a very small number which can illuminate the past and inform us of continuity and change in our landscapes.

Jenny Barnard, Dorset History Centre’s conservator said: “Parchment is particularly challenging to work with as, exposed to high humidity, it tries to return to its original animal shape. Re-joining the six skins so that the drawing aligned correctly was gratifyingly demanding and it is wonderful to see this beautiful map back in one piece.”

Lord Shaftesbury commented: “We are extremely grateful for the skill and care the Dorset History Centre have displayed in conserving this old and important map. It’s immensely satisfying to see these objects brought back to life and preserved so that future generations can enjoy them.”

Dorset History Centre accepts private commissions of archival conservation.

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