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National Trust Upton House

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In October 2021 the Armour Systems team travelled to the National Trust property, Upton House, to install a custom showcase and bespoke mount for one of their seminal objects. L’Agréable Leçon or ‘The Agreeable Lesson’, is a large soft paste porcelain ceramic made by the Chelsea porcelain factory in the mid eighteenth century and shows a shepherd teaching a shepherdess how to play the pipes. It is one of the largest ever made by the factory and will be on display as part of the National Trust’s 125th birthday. 

The 3D scan

To ensure the safety of the ceramic during its display a custom mount has been commissioned to sit underneath the object. The challenge is that the object is extremely fragile and can only remain in its current upright position and in order to create the most accurate mount a picture of the base is needed. This is where 3D scanning comes in. The object can be placed safely on an acrylic table and scanned from beneath. This captures the exact outline and interior of the base without causing any stress to the object. The scan takes less than one minute and does not cause any  damage in that timeframe. Another benefit of 3D scanning the object was that the team for the first time could see the base and see any damage or cracks that object had. The reassurance that the object had no recent cracks ensured the object could be safely displayed and put the teams mind at rest.

Once back in the factory the team used the scan to work out several ways of how the object could be displayed. The design that was chosen used the 3D scan of the base to laser cut the exact outline into the dress panel for the mount to sit in. The dress panel was fabric wrapped around the outline with conservation grade fabric. The mount was then digitally designed and 3D printed in house using our own 3D printer and placed within the dress panel. 

The display

The mount was ordered in conjunction with a custom museum showcase. The showcase was designed with accessibility, visual appearance, and conservation in mind, as these were the three key aspects the client was looking for. The Nova 60 design uses a hinged door for simple and safe access to the object within the showcase. The showcase will sit within an exhibition about the ceramic in the main house.

Final note

The Agreeable Lesson can be viewed now at Upton House and throughout the Christmas season. Please see their website for any display changes and updates. If you would like to discover more about the ceramic please see https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/porcelain-passion-a-chelsea-shepherd-and-shepherdess. If you would like to have your object scanned for a custom mount please contact Amy, amy@armour-systems.com to discuss mounts and for quotes.