As part of our commitment to preserving the art, culture and history of our heritage, we carry out multiple restoration and conservation projects in collaboration with different organisations. These include:
One of the most valuable treasures held by the Royal College of the Patriarch is a series of six large Flemish tapestries, donated by its founder, Juan de Ribera, four of which are displayed hanging on the walls of the Monument Chapel (also known, for this reason, as the Tapestries Chapel). The panels date from the early 16th century, the period when Flemish tapestry production reached its greatest splendour.
Their precarious state of conservation required urgent action to restore them, as they had lost colour and deteriorated through the passing of time.
Work started in early 2013 to restore, clean and consolidate the tapestries, a task that was entrusted to the Royal Tapestry Factory in Madrid.
- After removing the linings and the numerous darns all over the tapestries, the restorers embarked on a new phase consisting of washing four of the six panels and dying the supports to cover the existing gaps.
- Once prepared, the next phase was to place four of the tapestries on a loom to stabilise them (La Gracia Pública de los Honores, El Pago del Denario, La Ira y la Pereza and Contratación de los Jornaleros) before starting the actual restoration.
- Restoration of the fifth tapestry in the series, El juicio de Salomón, took place in 2016, while the sixth and last of the tapestries that make up the collection, Exhortación a las Virtudes was restored in 2017.
Cleaning the tapestries is not only a matter of aesthetics, it is an essential task to halt their deterioration and clean up the fabric. In addition, removing materials from prior restorations will make it easier to conserve the tapestries in the future. This work will revive the colours that were concealed under a thick layer of accumulated smoke, while the elimination of the darns and the subsequent repairs to the cloth will consolidate the structural recovery of the tapestries and the visual reintegration of the decorative elements.
The restoration work, completed in 2017, was carried out with the utmost care and rigour and the entire process was documented step by step.
The restoration of the Flemish tapestries in the Royal College of the Patriarch was carried out with our sponsorship at the Royal Tapestry Factory in Madrid.
In 2018, we renewed our collaboration with the Fundación San Millán to continue working to restore the collection belonging to the Yuso Monastery Library.
Nearly 400 volumes have now been restored since the Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla began the enormous task of restoring the Library in 2003. After receiving the consent of the Augustinian Friars, who own the Library, and the La Rioja Historical-Artistic Heritage Commission, this new agreement provides for the restoration of seven codices from the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries that require urgent attention due to their value and delicate state of conservation.
The codices were chosen by Father Pedro Merino and Ana Jessen, in whose workshop the restoration will take place. The state of conservation is very varied:
- Many have damaged covers resulting in a loss of integrity; this damage is due to their use, mishandling, the dehydration of the leather or parchment, general dirtiness and stains of unknown origin.
- The paper had also deteriorated through use giving rise to general dirtiness, damp stains, tears, warping and damage from bookworms.
We have collaborated with the Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla for several years, during which time we have also participated in the restoration of the latticework around the high altar at Yuso Monastery and in refurbishing the Exhibition Hall. We also entered into another collaboration agreement for the interior and exterior lighting at the Monastery.
- The aim of the Fundación San Millán de la Cogolla is to protect and care for the natural environment in an area in San Millán de la Cogolla that has been declared a World Heritage Site. The foundation researches, documents and is a source for information on the origins of the Castilian language. It uses the latest technologies to provide information and update the Spanish language throughout the world. It also promotes the social, economic, cultural and tourist development of San Millán de la Cogolla and its surroundings.
- The Suso and Yuso Monasteries in San Millán de la Cogolla, which were the cradle of the Spanish language, were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 4th December 1997, for artistic, religious, linguistic and literary reasons as they have one of the most important monastic libraries in the Hispanic world. A total of 18 codices have now been restored by the Workshop Training Centre run by restorer Ana Jessen in Madrid, focusing on those books that were in most desperate need of repair. Launched in late 2013, this restoration project has been undertaken in various phases, starting with an in-depth study into the condition of each codex to establish how best to treat each individual case based on the particular damage and its causes.
To restore the codices, their condition is carefully analysed and individual treatments are established.
The restoration of the altarpiece in Santa María and Todos los Santos Cathedral in Cuenca was finished in 2018. It has been returned to the cathedral and placed in a new location inside its chapel, due to the excellent outcome of the restoration process. The work was been carried out in collaboration with the Madrid School of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage.
Ramón Castresana (director of Fundación Iberdrola España) together with Venancio Rubio (the company’s institutional delegate in Castilla-La Mancha), Monsignor José María Yanguas (bishop of Cuenca), José Antonio Fernández (dean president of the chapter), Ruth Viñas (director of the Madrid School of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage) and Luis Priego (professor and coordinator of the altarpiece restoration) met in the cathedral to admire the result of the restoration.
The restoration work on this Gothic piece from the end of the 15th century consisted of dismantling the piece and transferring it to the School’s facilities in Madrid. There, students from the fourth year of the degree course had the opportunity to participate in the restoration process. Exceptional results were obtained in returning all the parts to their original condition.
A total of 10 students from the Sculptural Conservation-Restoration course participated in the restoration process, which began in September 2017 and ended on schedule. The restoration of this piece was the second collaboration between the Fundación Iberdrola España and the School of Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage after the one carried out between 2015 and 2016 on the Virgen del Rosario altarpiece in the church of Navamorales in Salamanca.
The project was made possible thanks to the invaluable support from Cuenca Cathedral and its Chapter House, which from the outset collaborated in every way possible with the School of Restoration and Iberdrola for the conservation of its heritage.