A spectacular component of the opening of the Sydney Opera House in October 1973 was the specially commissioned opera theatre and drama theatre curtains. Titled respectively The Curtain of the Sun and The Curtain of the Moon these giant 16 metre tapestries were designed by John Coburn (1925-2006) and woven at the Pinton Freres workshops outside Paris. It was Coburn’s most important commission to date, and largely established his career as well as a lifelong affair with tapestries (see related project).
The tapestries eventually fell out of favour, and were placed in storage in the late 1980s, making only occasional appearances. Their key role in the overall Opera House aesthetic was recognised during the Sydney Opera House renewal project in the late 2010s.
ICS was commissioned initially to assess the condition and clean the tapestries. We then worked with the Opera House to arrange their temporary installation in the Concert Hall in 2018, and in their original locations in the Joan Sutherland Opera Theatre and the Drama Theatre in 2019. ICS is privileged to be part of the ongoing journey making these highly significant Australian artworks safe and accessible to the public.
The curtains had been heavily restored in the 1990s including the attachment of a backing material. The surface was mildly dirty and had an extensive amount of fluff resulting from storage materials.
Each piece was surface cleaned and brush vacuumed, front and back, to remove all particulates from the surface. The existing Velcro hanging system, which previously replaced the original ring system, was secured. A new temporary hanging system was devised for The Curtain of the Moon, and improvements were made to the storage of both tapestries.
Overview The La Perouse anchor is an extremely rare object dating back to the earliest days of European settlement of Australia, namely the visit by two ships of the La Perouse expedition to Botany Bay in February of 1788. After a six week stay, replenishing supplies and recouping before another long journey, Admiral Lapérouse and his crew sailed away, never...
Overview ICS won the 2022 NSW National Trust “Conservation – Interiors and Objects” Award for the restoration of this 17th Century still life. The discovery of the true artist and date of the piece made headlines around the world. The still life painting originally belonged to the National Trust’s Woodford Academy collection. Its provenance was unknown, and for many years...
Almost a century old, the solid jarrah doors welcoming visitors into Canberra's Old Parliament House are an integral part of not only the building but national heritage, bearing witness to evolving eras of politics and being the physical backdrop of iconic moments in Australian history. Designed in 1924 by Commonwealth Chief Architect John Smith Murdoch, the doors were in place...