Bentham Project


Maintaining the Auto-Icon

The Auto-Icon was removed from public display on the advice of experts from the Textile Conservation Centre of Southampton University who discovered an infestation of a beetle called woolly bear. The Auto-Icon was being prepared for the loan of the clothes and head to an exhibition in Germany in 2003.

The clothes were taken to Southampton to be freeze-dried to remove the infestation. The replica head was being treated at UCL's Institute of Archaeology conservation laboratories..

The staff from the Textile Conservation Centre hoped that it might be possible to treat the clothing and dress a new mannequin (which was anyway being prepared for the loan) before Christmas 2002. In this case it might have been possible to put Jeremy back on display between January and the beginning of March 2003, when he would be crated up and shipped for exhibition. The loan for the exhibition, which lasted from 24 March to 30 June, was agreed by the Museums and Heritage Committee in July 2000. Under normal circumstances this would have involved the Auto-Icon being off display from early March to early July 2002. The discovery of the insect infestation meant that the length of time the Auto-Icon was off display was lengthened.

N.B. The Auto-Icon was placed back on temporary display on February 15th 2002.