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Priceless furniture at Kelmscott Manor saved from risk of flood damage thanks to Crown Fine Art

January 13, 2014

Priceless antique furniture at Kelmscott Manor, including an ebonised wood settle with leather panels painted by Phillip Webb, has been saved thanks to quick intervention by Crown Fine Art.

The Cotswold manor house, famously the home of writer, designer and socialist William Morris from 1871-1896, is situated next to the River Thames and has a history of flood damage.

So when recent heavy rain threatened to flood it again an urgent call was put in to Crown Fine Art, a company that transports, installs and preserves works of art and museum pieces.

Kelmscott Manor administrator Sarah Parker said: “It was a worrying time. The river burst its banks and the water table was rising – and we all remembered what had happened in 2007 when it flooded before.

“It was getting to the stage where we were like an island – you had to wade through water to get here - and when water started to come through into the cellar we called Crown Fine Art straight away because they are specialists in moving items that require extra care.

“They were fantastic. We called them in the morning and they dropped everything and were here by the afternoon.

“We had moved a lot of things upstairs already but we needed professional help for some of the heavier and more valuable items – and especially a priceless settle which is made from ebonised oak with gilded leather panels by Phillip Webb. Its canopy had to be unscrewed and dismantled but thankfully it is now safe – as is all the furniture.”

Crown Fine Art’s Michael Festenstein said: “The manor house included many museum pieces, including Jacobean furniture, and it was important to get them onto wooden blocks or move them to a higher floor as soon as possible.

“We were delighted to do that and to play a part in conserving these pieces for the future.”

Kelmscott Manor, which recently won a gold award as best small visitor attraction from Cotswold Tourism, opens to the public again in April. 

For further information please contact: Chris Hatherall or Alex Hankinson on 01273 666200 or email

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