West Dean Programme Leader to give the George Daniels Lecture 2017

Matthew Read, Clocks Conservation, Programme Leader at West Dean College, has the honour to be giving the George Daniels Lecture at City University of London this evening (Wednesday 30 November).

The prestigious annual lecture series celebrates the life and work of George Daniels, CBE, a pioneer independent watchmaker and inventor who was considered to be the best horologist in the world and was famous for creating the co-axial escapement which has been used by Omega since 1999. Read is an ICON Accredited Conservator and a Member of the Antiquarian Horological Society.

In his lecture Conservation, Craft and Clockmaking he will look at some of the many synergies between these elements and how they may shape the future of clockmaking.

Matthew's interest in Horology grew out of a third-generation family retail jewellery business in East Yorkshire. His first taste of professional clockmaking came as a series of short courses at the British Horological Institute, Newark, Notts. Eventually Matthew committed to horology as a full-time profession, learning the trade via the postgraduate programme at West Dean College.

To book a place on the George Daniels Lecture 2016 at City University of London visit www.city.ac.uk/events.

A four-year term at the National Maritime Museum gave him valuable curatorial experience and introduced me to conservation within clocks. Matthew then pursued conservative practice as a self-employed contractor to national heritage organisations. During this period, particular highlights were working on the Bowes Silver Swan Automaton (currently migrating to the Science Museum for their blockbuster exhibition Robots which opens in February), the Pagoda Clock at Angelsey Abbey and the Fromanteel clock at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford.

For the past seven years Matthew has taught foundation, postgraduate, and MA programmes at West Dean. In 2009 he gained an MA in Conservation Studies, followed by ICON Accreditation in 2012.

"In recent years, the awareness of the importance of preserving our horological heritage has grown. The inherited fossil record of horological materials forms a wider societal material memory, allowing insight to the past and giving inspiration for the future," says Read. "In curatorship and conservation, scientific analytical techniques are now widely employed to reveal information that would otherwise remain hidden, adding depth and qualification to knowledge. The craftsperson understands the manipulation of materials from hours to intimate engagement, leading often to tacit skill. The maker uses materials to manifest creativity and develop new boundaries".

West Dean College is internationally renowned for teaching in Conservation of Clocks, B0oks Ceramics, Furniture and Metals. Students come to study from all over the UK and the world and many graduates go on to work at the most prestigious heritage organisations including the British Museum, Victoria and Albert, Tate, National Martime Museum at Greenwich and many more in the UK.

West Dean is part of The Edward James Foundation and the college is the former home of Edward James, poet and lifelong supporter of the Surrealist Movement.

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Horological conservation for the 21st century

David Newman, Chairman of the George Daniels Educational Trust, said: "We are delighted that Matthew Read, an authoritative voice in horological conservation, will be delivering this year's George Daniels Lecture at City, University of London. We look forward to listening to his informative insights which we are confident will follow the very high standard of Lectures inaugurated three years ago".

Previous George Daniels Lectures include: Optical Atomic Clocks - Lights Years Ahead? Professor Patrick Gill, a world-leading expert (2013 inaugural lecture); The Challenge of Invention: An Eternal Flame by Andrew King, historian and horologist (2014); and The Watchmaker's Apprentice by Roger W Smith (2015).