Saturday, 31 October 2020

Climate Change Presents an Unexpected Challenge in the Loire Valley

Climate change is having an effect on the Loire Valley, but it is not always in ways that you expect. Many Loire Valley chateaux (and indeed private homes) have remarkable collections of antique furniture. Curators are very used to controlling the temperature and relative humidity inside historic buildings to protect the collections of objects inside, and this is one of the aspects of chateau life that we talk about on our tours. Central heating needs to be very carefully managed in a historic building to ensure visitors are comfortable, but furniture and other organic objects don't dry out and crack. According to furniture restorers, underfloor heating is even worse. But recently the leading furniture workshop in the Loire Valley commented that they are seeing more and more beautiful and rare furniture that is being damaged by the effects of the increasing extremes of fluctuating temperatures and humidity which is a result of climate change. Veneers and marquetry are at most risk as the changes in ambient conditions cause lifting and buckling, sometimes of rare materials that are no longer readily available. The more complex and delicate the piece, the more different materials it is made of, the more at risk it is. The Boulle chest of drawers at Cheverny, for example, pictured below, will require very close monitoring, because its veneer is tortoise shell and brass -- two materials which react very differently to temperature and humidity changes. If you want to learn more about the challenges of managing an historic property, let us know and we will make sure to include some interesting examples in your tour.

Boulle chest of drawers, Chateau of Cheverny. Loir et Cher. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

To enquire about our private guided tours of chateaux, wineries, markets and more email us or use our contact form. More tour ideas can be found on the Loire Valley Time Travel website.