What was the cleaning?
This cleaning job initially came to us via Lewis in the office, as they felt the person most suitably trained was Pierre. They gave us the contact details of a car restoration company just a short distance from us. When Pierre contacted them, the request turned out to be for cleaning the interior of an old Rolls Royce car.
On arrival, it was a very famous Rolls Royce Phantom 1 called The Phantom of Love! Can we take a moment to look at the beauty of this fantastic car:
A little History into the Phantom of Love Rolls-Royce:
Built in 1926, the car was built initially by Surefire Snow… However, Clarence Gasque wanted it to be grander than it was! Clarence Gasque was recommissioning the car as a gift for his wife… He wanted it to have a striking French look. The inspiration behind the decoration partly came from Gasque seeing a sedan chair in the Victoria and Albert Museum by Marie Antoinette. And you’ll agree he fulfilled his desired look.
To complete this extensive decoration and manufacturing, it took 10 months in total. This work included:
- Tapestry made in Aubusson
- A painted ceiling with floating cherubs as a feature.
- Satin veneer panelling
- A faux coat of arms.
It has since gone through many private collections. As part of a significant recommissioning and conservation programme, the new owner was clear on what he wanted to be done. He wanted to have all the interior upholstery fabrics, net curtains, and carpets cleaned. These were all original to the car and were to be preserved rather than renewed.
And that’s where we stepped in…
How did you clean the Phantom of Love Rolls Royce?
Our first inspection of the Phantom of Love Rolls-Royce:
When Pierre got to see the car, it was immediately apparent that this would not be an ordinary cleaning job… Most of the upholstery was fixed into the car and surrounded by wood inlay parquetries and gold leaf. The stuffers beneath the fabric could be anything but most likely horsehair.
The carpets were only partially removable and covered in sooty soil, and the net curtains looked so delicate that cleaning them would be a real challenge.
The car restoration company’s main concern was that we would clean the interior safely and were understandably cautious about it. Originality is highly important to the car’s value. Once we completed the cleaning, the car was due to be shipped to its owner. If any damage were caused by cleaning, it would be a total disaster!
Who we called:
The best person Pierre could think of to complement his skills was Glyn Charnock from Chameleon Cleaning. He cleans historic carpets and works closely with conservators all over the country, so if he couldn’t help, we didn’t know who could!
Second time back:
We arranged a visit to see the car together, and Glyn explained his background to the restorers and discussed the methods he would use to clean all the different textiles. We had to accompany this with a full report on the cleaning products and processes.
Which then had to be presented to the client on completion to be kept as part of the restoration documentation. It was also kept for reference should cleaning be required in the future.
Time to get technical:
They prepared a comprehensive estimate to be submitted, including all the information discussed at the meeting… Then we waited!
We heard nothing for months. Glyn said he had just about decided we wouldn’t get the job when we heard back. Yes, we got the job! However, it was a real rush to get it done as the date for the car to be shipped was all arranged. It had to have the gold leaf reapplied, so it was moved down to Kent, and we had to travel and stay in a hotel to get it done!
We both managed to find dates to suit, and in the end, we spent 3 days cleaning the car. It’s always better to allow extra time and charge less… than the estimate than under-estimate and try to charge more!
As Glyn is a highly experienced carpet and soft furnishing cleaner, Pierre learnt some conservation cleaning methods used on very fragile textiles. What was of great interest was how to perform vacuum cleaning tests and draw up vacuuming schedules. Work like this is extremely detailed. It can take up to an hour to vacuum clean a small seat back!
The results were spectacular, as you can see from some of the photos, and the client was very happy, so thank you, NCCA, for getting me a once-in-a-lifetime job. You never know where your NCCA membership can take you!
A few words from Jonathan Wood
“I would formally like to thank ‘Art of Clean’ for the superb and careful cleaning that The Phantom of Love received.
Having had no previous experience with this specialist cleaning service, I was keen to find the ‘right people’ for this job. Especially given the car’s value and the fragility of the items to be cleaned.
Not only did Art of Clean quickly gain my confidence by taking the time to explain their cleaning processes and the expected results… they also demonstrated great professionalism and enthusiasm for their work.
Upon completing the cleaning, I was delighted with the results and have since received a detailed report which underlines the care taken when cleaning the car. It also outlined the benefit of the various processes.
I look forward to working with Art of Clean again in the future… and the owner of The Phantom of Love, and I wish to extend our thanks for the excellent attention the car received.
Jonathan Wood Vintage & Thoroughbred Restorations Limited
Clockhouse Workshop, Finchingfield Road. Little Sampford, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 2QN
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Edited by Tracey Gilbey, Marketing
For further advice or information on our Carpet and Soft Furnishing care, please do not hesitate to contact the Art of Clean team on 01223 901551 in Cambridge. Our services include Carpet Cleaning, Upholstery Cleaning, oriental and area Rug Cleaning, Curtain Cleaning, Patio, and Driveway Pressure washing, Leather Cleaning, Stone and Tile Floor Cleaning, and Wood Floor Sanding and Restoration. We also supply new flooring and carpets through our sister company Art of Flooring. Farthings Cambridge provides our Dry-Cleaning service