17th Century Sedan Restoration

One of the more unusual and less well known historical items is a sedan chair believed to be from the 17th century. It was acquired the Heidelberg Motor Museum from the Van Rijn collection, and following the museum’s move to Franschhoek to create FMM, it has been kept on display in the boardroom. But it is now undergoing careful restoration by experienced painting conservator Angela Zehnder, who is amazed at the chair’s condition. “The exterior paintings have been retouched in small places in the past,” says Angela, “but it is in incredibly original condition.”

Its origins are no known, but the crest on the rear panel and the painted scenes may give a clue – any ideas anyone? The glasswork is unmarked and the leather-covered roof and the interior fabric are still in excellent condition. Traces of cigarette smoke are still noticeable on the woodwork but the frame is generally sound, with only the door’s upper hinges slightly skew.

The restoration has sparked fresh interest in this valuable artefact, and its history will be looked into.