I'm Nigel Bamforth and I'm a Senior Conservator in the Furniture and Wood section at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
We work on a great many objects and Tippoo's Tiger is one of the objects we are privileged to work on. The object has come into the storeroom for some analysis and whilst the object is here we're looking to take some wood samples and try and identify some of the original surfaces of the object.
The state of the object as a whole on the inside - we have been taking photographic records of the interior. So hopefully this process will give us a bit more insight into the original fabric of the object.
What we're trying to achieve is to see what layers there are on the object and what the original colour scheme of the object was. In most areas it's very evident that - you can see there's overpainting, in fact there's hardly any areas that would say haven't been overpainted. This is very recognisable by the depth of the paint surfaces and the painting over the old glosses that can be seen round on the body and on the trousers of the object. Areas like - there's a silver band here - this is raised and it looks like a foil because it's been bent over. It would be interesting to know whether this is something that has been applied or whether this was original. It looks as though it's something that's been applied, I would have thought. Also the whole colour scheme for the body - there have been numerous whiskers that have been painted on it. These might be just a romantic interpretation by a later person who did the restoration on it. Round his jaws here the spots have been applied and they're very basic sort of spots that have been put on.
For the paint analysis it requires taking a small, a very small sample of the surfaces. What my colleague and I are looking at is removing areas from different parts of the body of both the tiger and the man. We're doing this with a scalpel and we'll be embedding the fragments into little resin ice cubes. These will be ground and then they'll go to the science department for analysis.