Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Centuries-old Hampshire tapestries to be washed in Belgium

Oath of the Peach Garden tapestry Image copyright National Trust
Image caption One of the artworks depicts the Chinese legend of the Oath of the Peach Garden

Six 300-year-old tapestries depicting scenes from eastern folklore are to be washed in Belgium as part a three-year conservation project.

The wool and silk Soho artworks from the National Trust's The Vyne, in Sherborne St John, Hampshire, will go overseas next month.

They will undergo a process known as "wet cleaning", before returning to the UK for further treatment.

An appeal has been launched to pay for the work, which will cost £382,000.

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption The wool and silk Soho artworks are housed at the National Trust's The Vyne

Previous repairs to the fabric have started to fail and the backings of the tapestries have "warped", the trust said.

Wet cleaning involves passing a mist of detergent through the fabric to remove any dirt.

The tapestries were woven in about 1720 in the style of weaver John Vanderbank and made by workers at his Great Wardrobe workshop in London.

One of the artworks depicts the legend of the Oath of the Peach Garden, when three ill-fated heroes swore allegiance to the Han Dynasty in what has been described as "an expression of deepest loyalty in Chinese culture", she added.

The largest of the tapestries measures 2.4m (7ft 8in) by 4.7m (15ft 4in).

Image copyright National Trust
Image caption Previous repairs to the fabric have begun to fail and the backings of the tapestries have "warped"

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