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“Cinderella with her bird friends” by Paul Meyerheim (1842-1915) taken from New York Public Library’s Public Domain Archive.

A fictional character

This is an entirely fictional letter. The main character in it is a completely made up conservator, not intended to represent or depict any real person. I may, in the future, choose to play (or not) with conservator stereotypes. This is just me, a conservator, writing for fun to exercise my literary hand, with the purpose of extending preventive conservation knowledge without directly alluding to it and also making fun of myself. I do not pretend to be an expert on late Georgian or Victorian forms of written expression. If you wish to correct any issues of style, you are welcome to send me a message and we can have fun making this letter much more “accurate” with your contributions.

You are welcome to think of the 1950 Cinderella film as you read this keeping in mind that I, of course, do not own anything related to that.

This particular fictional letter was inspired by my random reference to Cinderella in my post about understanding dewpoint, which you can read here. Without further ado, I present to you the proof that I’m a nerd.

Enjoy!

A consultation

Dear Lady -,

I take my pen in hand to write to you with regards to the recent incognito visit I made to your chateau, at your request, to review the collections of your late husband, Lord -.

I am very much afraid that the conditions I found at your premises could not be considered ideal for the maintenance of the late Lord’s estate, details of which I briefly describe as follows:

Your daughter, the young miss C, seems to be quite determined to encourage the proliferation of a rather diverse nucleus of house mice which, after only a cursory inspection, seem to have a very advanced travelling system throughout your handsome building. I strongly suggest that she is reprimanded on such behaviour and that you might find the time to seal many of the exit and entry orifices which these mice use to traverse your home.

I further observed that the main foyer is cleaned, at least, once a week, by a liberal and uncontrolled application of soap and water. While I was most impressed by your daughter’s singing abilities, confessing them to be much more accomplished than any such talents I could represent for myself, I do believe it would be best to refrain in the future from similar open uses of water in the main hall, as they will not only increase the possibility of mould on your beautiful curtains but potentially cause damage to your Italian tiles.

I must be permitted to suggest that the household cat and dog be restrained from wandering the house quite so openly. I have seen many a broken vase due to the passions exerted on them by beloved pets.

I am, dear Madam, in great distress after viewing miss C ascending the steps in the morning with no fewer than three breakfast trays, each with corresponding pots of tea. I am sure you must agree that we should avoid spilled tea stains on the main staircase at all costs.

I have deemed it proper to communicate my observations in confidence to you, Madam, where I know no offence could be given, as all are provided with only the best of intentions.

I flatter myself that your Ladyship will consider my current observations and that we may continue to correspond on the matter of the care of the late Lord’s furnishings and collections.

I remain, dear Madam, your obedient servant,

Preserva B. Kerfel
Conservator





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