Martin Ashley Architects are working towards a major restoration and conservation programme of the Tijou screen at Hampton Court Palace. Informed by a comprehensive research project as well as a painstaking survey of the screen, the project will ensure a stable future for one of the finest examples of 17thcentury ironwork in the world.
The screen, designed and made by Jean Tijou for William III and Mary II at Hampton Court in 1689-1692 represents a masterful achievement of Baroque ironworking art and craftsmanship. The screen fell into neglect in the 18thcentury, and was subsequently subjected to numerous well-meaning repairs before being split up in the 19th century. Although it was re-erected at Hampton Court in 1902, its original design was badly compromised.
Working with Historic Royal Palaces, we have developed a programme for the screen’s conservation. We went back to the beginning – using archive research and physical inspections of the screen and surviving fragments to understand Tijou’s design, techniques and materials. By peeling back the layers of interventions over three centuries, the programme has identified a strategy for addressing the screen’s physical defects, and unearthed clues as to the appearance of lost elements. Rather than adopting a ‘moment in time’ approach to further repair and restoration, we have proposed a series of baseline principles that will ultimately see the screen returned as closely as possible to its original condition.