Archival research allied to technical inspection helps us to interpret the historical context of the Knole portraits. Events such as gallery moves, exhibition loans and conservation work may impact on the paintings by exposing them to variable environmental conditions.
Knole House is re-modelled by Thomas Sackville.
Earliest possible date for the boards used in the portrait paintings based on dendrochronology analysis.
Death of Thomas Sackville.
Portraits are likely moved to what is now named the Brown Gallery, with research suggesting that they may have previously hung in another location at Knole in the Cartoon Gallery.
Inventory of Knole lists 32 heads in the Leicester Gallery and 21 heads in the passage (Brown Gallery).
George Vertue records “a small gallery hung with Old pictures. on bord all alike in size & ornament heads all probably collected. By Tho. Sacvil Earl of Dorsett” in a notebook now held by the Walpole Society.
Inventory made of the Horn Gallery (now Brown Gallery) .
Restoration work carried out by Francis Parsons “For cleaning & Repairing forty old portraits on Pannels […] and the Frames mended and new Gilt, with Ribbons added to each Frame and label’d with the name and title of each portrait, and the Angle of each painted with ornaments”
Inventory taken of the Brown Gallery that lists the currently known set of portraits.
The two portraits of William Herbert and Thomas Howard are loaned to The Exhibition of National Portraits.
The five portraits of Thomas Wolsey, John Fisher, Sir Francis Walsingham, John Whitgift and Richard Bancroft are loaned to the Exhibition of the Royal House of Tudor
Selected paintings are sent to Bourlet & Sons Ltd for treatment, although the exact nature of the treatment to the paintings is not clear as records were subsequently lost in a fire.
All 44 existing paintings undergo restoration treatment in-situ.
The portrait of John of Austria is loaned to the Armada Exhibition at the National Maritime Museum.
Paintings 25-38 sent out for conservation treatment.
Paintings 39-46 sent out for conservation treatment.
Portrait of Alfonso d’Avalos is water damaged and sent out for conservation treatment.
Portraits of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk and Francis of Lorraine are stolen and returned.
Paintings 49-50 sent out for conservation treatment.
All paintings are moved to the kitchen store (acclimatized to 60% – 70% relative humidity).
All the paintings will be reinstated in an environmentally-controlled Brown Gallery. The final relative humidity range within this new setting is still to be determined.