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The Centre for Conservation and Making

The West Dean Centre for Conservation and Making offers bespoke making and conservation services for individuals, private collectors, heritage organisations and museums.


All who teach and study at West Dean are committed to the guiding principles and standards of object conservation, which includes: condition assessment, stabilisation and cleaning through to repair and sensitive restoration, respecting the integrity of our cultural heritage. All work is fully documented. Preventive conservation is offered including collections survey, storage and transportation consultation and proper display and environmental maintenance. Every object is unique, as is its use and context, so every treatment proposal is fully discussed with the owner and approved in advance. Thanks to the variety of specialisms taught and practised at West Dean (see below), there is the benefit of on-site consultation and shared treatment responsibilities for mixed media objects.

West Dean College’s full-time programmes of study enable our students to progress to MA level and beyond. Under the close supervision of their tutors, students with advanced standing learn from the work they undertake on carefully selected objects brought to the Centre for Conservation and Making.

Quality and expertise is consistent with this learning environment and the scheduling and completion of work is generally tied to an educational timetable and the academic calendar.

For enquiries regarding the full-time programmes in Conservation please email diplomas@westdean.org.uk

For more information contact Sue Fullwood on +44 (0)1243 818 302 or email ccm@westdean.org.uk


West Dean’s long established reputation for excellence in the creation of new craft and art works is most manifest in the Tapestry Studio, where our full-time professional tapestry designers and weavers, have created individual works for such venues as the Palace of Westminster, Chelmsford Cathedral and Great Ormond Street Hospital amongst other public institutions and private individuals.

Students on the Stringed Musical Instruments programme meticulously create instruments which are are played by professional musicians around the world.

All West Dean conservation programmes emphasise the study of historic making practices in their curriculum. Tutors and students can provide bespoke new work from their various department (see below).

Students within our visual arts programmes can be commissioned to create art works in a variety of media.

For enquiries regarding the full-time programmes in Conservation please email diplomas@westdean.org.uk

For more information contact the CCM co-ordinator
on +44 (0)1243 818 302 or email ccm@westdean.org.uk

The Centre for Conservation and Making can carry out conservation and making projects in the following areas:

Books and Library Materials

We provide a conservation service for a wide range of books and associated materials, both manuscript and printed, based on the study of historic bookbinding practices. Work is undertaken for historic, public or private collections, on leather, cloth, parchment and paper bindings, and related objects such as maps and prints.

Ceramics and Related Objects

We undertake the conservation of ceramics, vessel glass, stone and related materials, including enamels, ceramic and metal, and plaster objects. Archaeological material and antiquities through to decorative arts and contemporary objects are typical. Commissions for new objects are welcomed.


We carry out conservation on a full range of metal objects, from archaeological to modern, in most metals including silver, gold, iron, pewter, copper and chrome; from jewellery and household items to technical objects and outdoor sculpture. Commissions for new work are welcomed.

Stringed Musical Instruments

New stringed musical instruments can be commissioned and purchased through the Centre, which specialises in Renaissance and Baroque Stringed instruments and bows, including Viola da Gamba, Violins, Cellos and Bandoras. The care and repair of stringed musical instruments can also be carried out.

Tapestry Studio (making only)

Tapestries may be commissioned or purchased and range from small-scale domestic pieces to large public works. Weavers work with a client to create a unique tapestry of the highest quality. The Studio collaborates with well-known artists and also produces bespoke designs by our award-winning in-house weavers. The ionternationall acclaimed team at West Dean employ both traditional Gobelin and Jacquard Loom techniques.

Furniture and Related Objects

We provide conservation of furniture and a wide range of related objects, emphasising decorative surface coatings, gilding and lost ornamental elements. Conservation is complemented by a focused diploma programme in historic making practices, so our conservators can undertake commissions for new furniture, built to either historic or contemporary designs.


The conservation of clocks at West Dean is centred around the promotion and teaching of traditional clockmaking hand skills, and informed by a multi-disciplinary, professional practice based view of the object. We offer bespoke and small-scale production of mechanical clocks both of traditional and contemporary design, using a combination of inherited hand skills and modern manufacturing techniques.

Painting and Sculpture (making only)

Painting and Sculptural work can be commissioned through the Centre, including pieces destined for domestic, corporate or public settings.

For enquiries regarding the full-time programmes in Conservation please email diplomas@westdean.org.uk

For more information contact Sue Fullwood on +44 (0)1243 818 302 or email ccm@westdean.org.uk


How to Find Us

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West Dean College and Gardens are situated in South East England, six miles north of the historic city of Chichester and 12 miles from the south coast.

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