Who are you and why do you like Upton House and Gardens?
I am Christine, and I like the opportunities I have gained to see and work “behind the scenes” at a historic house – an opportunity I would never have had without volunteering. My real passion is the amazing collection we have here at Upton.
What is your role here?
I am part of the conservation team here. During the season we keep the house in good order for the visitors – much hoovering and dusting involved! In addition, all the House’s contents must be carefully preserved by more specialised processes. Steady hands and nerves are required for this – and, in the winter, very warm clothes! Over winter we have the chance to do tasks which taker longer, such as cleaning the porcelain collection in the Long Gallery.
Currently, I have been helping the conservation team clean and audit the books in the Library and Inglenook with a group of other volunteers, which is no small task!
What have you particularly enjoyed?
Handling and cleaning unique works of art and porcelain. Collections of this quality are usually only seen in museums, and I would have no chance of getting so close and personal! My favourite item has to be the Constable painting. It is so small visitors often miss it!
What are you next looking forward to?
Learning and using new conservation techniques, and helping tackle the deep clean over winter once the House is quieter. I also like helping with the preparations and decorating at Christmas – there are boxes and boxes of decorations in the Attic to come down and be prepared!