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Arts and Crafts metalwork, conservation clean for private collector, 2016

A private collection including Keswick School of Industrial Arts copper needed our help, including dealing with a build-up of old cleaning residues and some nasty sticky labels. The variety of different finishes required a bespoke approach for each piece and regular discussion with the owner over the level of cleaning appropriate for each piece. It was such a pleasure to work closely on these lovely pieces and appreciate their detail.

Removing the old cleaning residues was painstaking work, but worth every minute to see the original detail becoming clearer again. Previous owners had left fingerprints etched into the surface. This is a common problem and the honest truth is that, when it's your own treasure in your own busy home, you don't always reach for the gloves when picking it up. After cleaning we applied a protective layer of wax to help guard against this in the future.

The lovely thing about working on something so closely over a period of time is getting to know it really well and thinking about the craftsperson who made it.

We loved witnessing our client's pleasure when she saw the transformation, too. Here's what she said about us:

'We were thrilled to unwrap our pieces of metalwork and see the result of many hours of care and attention given to each of them. Old polish has been carefully removed allowing the interesting detail to be clearly seen. Margaret and Angela consulted us at each stage of the cleaning and we are delighted with their work.'

Images and acknowledgements

From top: Detail post cleaning - Three of the vessels before cleaning showing different finishes - Just one of the lovely decorative details - Initial dust removal and assessment - Detail of old cleaning residues - Detail of old cleaning residues - Detail during removal of encrusted cleaning residues - Detail during removal of cleaning residues showing old fingerprints - Angela working on her personal favourite - Sticky label during removal - Sticky label residue during removal - Sticky label residue during removal - Detail post cleaning - Two of the pots post cleaning; detail of one of the bases after removal of sticky label