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Subject: Wedding cake

Wedding cake

From: Caroline Fry <vcccm>
Date: Monday, November 8, 1999
I have had an unusual request for information from the Curator of
the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Memorial and Army Tank Museum in
Puckapunyal, Victoria.  The Museum has a tier of Prince Charles and
Lady Diana's wedding cake (approximately 30 cm square), which was
presented to Col. F. H Walker, Director of the Royal Australian
Armoured Corps, immediately after the wedding in July 1981.  Since
that time it has been housed on display in a glass display case
which is not air tight.  The curator tells me it is under lights and
the whole museum has rudimentary climate control.

The cake itself is a probably a traditional fruit cake,  (one of
several back-ups which were made for the wedding), and has white
icing (probably royal? icing) with a painted image of Charles and
Diana on the top. The cake has other decorative elements such as
four silver horseshoes and moulded lace motifs.

The curator tells me that some seepage has occurred at all four
corners of the iced surface, where there is a brownish
discolouration, probably from the internal cake. There is also some
cracking of the icing around all the decorative motifs.  But,
otherwise, he says it's in remarkably good condition, with minimal
colour change, considering its age and the display circumstances.
The curator says that it's important to keep the cake on display,
notwithstanding political ramifications of having the an image of
the 'couple' on permanent display. And, apart from its historic
significance, it is extremely valuable.  According to him, a single
slice of cake (in a bag) sold last year in the United Kingdom for
$1000 (Aust).

So, can anyone give me some advice on the preservation options for
this significant cake.  I assume low light levels (50 lux), and
standard Temp and RH (20C and 55%), but other than that, I'm drawing
a blank,

This is not a joke! I would appreciate any feedback.

Caroline Fry
Paintings Conservator
The Conservation Centre

                  Conservation DistList Instance 13:29
                 Distributed: Friday, November 12, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-13-29-018
Received on Monday, 8 November, 1999

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