Press Release: Victorian putti conserved by students at West Dean College to be auctioned by Bonhams

Student conservators at West Dean College have conserved a pair of German hard paste porcelain allegorical figures representing day, and the harvest season, and night (circa 1860 to 1880). The putti will be auctioned at Bonhams' Fine European Ceramics in London on 2 December in support of the College's full time Ceramics Conservation programme. The internationally renowned College is run by The Edward James Foundation a charitable trust offering scholarships to talented students in Conservation and Creative Arts.

Bonhams head of European Ceramics, Nette Megens, says, "These figures represented a very difficult conservation challenge and the students have done a magnificent job. West Dean College has an excellent reputation and Bonhams is glad to have been able to support its important work."

Connie Tang, Mary Terese Vigliotti, Jane Townsend and Belinda Shen, students on the Graduate Diploma Programme at the College, worked on the figures. Both had been broken into two sections, with detached sections, numerous body and glaze sherds, and areas of loss and other damage.

"It has been a challenging project but both teams worked very effectively to achieve their treatment goals. The difficulty in supporting such heavy objects during the bonding process called on excellent problem-solving skills," says Lorna Calcutt, Programme Leader Ceramics Conservation.

Students work on a very diverse range of historic objects from a broad group of clients, including acclaimed collections, as part of their professional training. Learning combines practical with theoretical and scientific study with collaboration across the conservation disciplines (books, ceramics, clocks, furniture or metalwork). Many graduates go on to work in some of the world's most prestigious institutions and commercial practices, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Maritime Museum and the British Museum, or establish their own conservation practice. In a survey 95% of students state reputation as the reason they chose to study at West Dean College.

The college attracts students from the UK/EU and internationally as one of the few places offering specialised training in the conservation of ceramics to gain an MA Conservation Studies, which is increasingly in demand by the sector.

Scholarships and Bursaries

In recognition of the increasing difficulties in funding for postgraduate education the college offers a wide range of scholarships and bursaries to talented students from its own funds and thanks to the generous support of other funders who share its passion for creative arts and conservation. The college welcomes funding applications from prospective students from all walks of life and the deadline for applications for the 2016/17 intake ends at 5pm 1 April 2016.

Student Open Day

The next Student Open Day on Saturday 6 February is an opportunity to see conservation in action behind the scenes in the School of Conservation and to explore the studios of the School of Creative Arts. For more information or to register call +44 (0)1243 818291 or email To view the digital prospectus visit View conservation in action here.


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation, is an educational charitable trust established in 1964, also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • To find out more about how to support the next generation of artists, makers and conservation experts contact the Development Team on +44 (0)1243 818285.
  • All photographs are free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in attending a short course or event for news or review purposes, high res images or information on filming should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

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Media Contact Information

For further information and high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ