Hall Conservation Ltd was commissioned to carry out the restoration of almost 3000 items of arms and armour that make up the baroque display in the King’s Guard Chamber. The design of the display is contemporary with the reign of Henry VIII, although the original firelock muskets and pistols were later replaced by flintlock muskets and pistols. Bayonets, pikes, body armour and military drums are all original.
The collection was removed from the King’s Guard Chamber to a purpose fitted out conservation workshop and stores in one of the ‘Grace and Favour’ apartments in the Palace. There, over the course of three years, each item was carefully photographed, assigned a catalogue number and any makers marks were recorded. After recording the object details, the arms and armour were carefully disassembled, any corrosion was removed along with the degraded lacquer. All ferrous parts were re-lacquered, brass components were polished and waxed with micro-crystalline wax.
Once conservation works had been completed, the objects were transported back to the King’s Guard Chamber. The mounts for the arms and armour dated to the 17th century and although by modern standards they are not ideal, they are historic objects in themselves and the majority were re-used. Only where the mount was found to be damaging the object or not holding it securely was the original mount adapted or replaced.