Press Release: West Dean College welcome their first Book Conservator-in-Residence

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation are pleased to announce that Hollie Drinkwater will be their first Book Conservator-in-Residence – beginning on Monday, April 19, 2021 on a part-time basis for 11 weeks. The opportunity has been made possible through funding from the Anna Plowden Trust, which was established in 1998 in memory of Anna Plowden who was a pioneering conservator in the private sector.

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Hollie Drinkwater in the books workshop
Hollie Drinkwater in the books workshop

Hollie Drinkwater began her training in Books and Archives Conservation in 2017 under the supervision of Lizzie Neville ACR at PZ Conservation C.I.C. in Cornwall. Hollie subsequently spent several years undertaking internships and placements in Book Conservation throughout Europe and the UK and recently completed her MA in Conservation Studies at West Dean College in September 2020, where she specialised in the conservation of Books and Library Materials. Hollie has since returned to West Dean College where she now works as a Technician assisting the Tutors in the Book Conservation Department.

Mariluz Beltran de Guevara, Subject Leader (Books), Conservation Studies at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, explains: “This funding opportunity will allow Hollie to recuperate some of the hours of practical training that were lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic last year. The Residency will be undertaken in collaboration with the College Archives and will focus on stabilising and rehousing parchment documents and bound material that form part of the Estate’s significant collection of manorial records. This project will build upon a student condition survey undertaken in 2018 and aims to work towards the goals of rehousing and digitisation. It is hoped that this project will further help to raise the profile of the Estate papers, which provide a unique insight into the history of the site and local area.”

She continues: “The West Dean Collections are varied and fascinating. We are delighted to have our first Conservator in Residence and we look forward to open this opportunity to established conservators from different disciplines in the future.”

Sarah Hughes, Curatorial Assistant, West Dean College, comments: “Hollie will be working on a Perambulation dating from 1587. This records the bounds of the Estate owned by Richard Lewknor. The documents that Hollie will be treating are an important primary resource for the UCL Archaeology Field Course at Downley Park which takes place on the edge of the West Dean estate each year. Led by Dr. Mark Roberts, Principal Research Fellow at UCL and West Dean College Fellow, the UCL students have been excavating a medieval hunting lodge since 2015 and we hope they will be able to share their finds during Hollie’s residency.”

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation has an international reputation for excellence and is a full partner of the University of Sussex. Students get to view or work with material from the College’s amazing Collection and Archive. For Conservation and Fine Art study opportunities, see www.westdean.ac.uk. The deadline to apply for September 2022 study is January 2022, for other Conservation Studies specialisms including Ceramics, Clocks, Furniture and Related Objects and Metalwork applications are open now for September 2021 study. 

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE ARCHIVE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

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Notes to Editors:

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.


For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked:
Email: rachel.aked@westdean.org.uk
Telephone: 07790 732448

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0QZ

Manorial Records from the West Dean College Archives. Photo © Barney Hindle
Manorial Records from the West Dean College Archives. Photo © Barney Hindle
Perambulation record from the West Dean College Archives, dating from 1587.
Perambulation record from the West Dean College Archives, dating from 1587. © West Dean College of Arts and Conservation