Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects

Graduate Diploma Conservation Studies, specialising in Furniture and Related Objects

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Graduate Diploma Conservation Studies, specialising in Furniture and Related Objects
Duration: 1 academic year (36 weeks) full time

We are still accepting applications for all subjects for 2019 entry. Find out more about funding opportunities.

Through practical work develop your tool skills, learning a variety of techniques and trades through historic craft practices. Learn about interventive treatment, structural and surface stabilisation, cleaning, consolidation, restoration of losses, materials and techniques, theory and practice.

Develop an understanding and appreciation of the history and cultural context of furniture and related objects and the architectural interiors they were created to be part of. Study wood and other decorative art materials associated with furniture including surface coatings: transparent, gilded, painted or lacquered.

You can expect

  • To develop excellent practical skills
  • To learn historic making techniques
  • To study preventative conservation

Learning environment

  • Workshop access 8.30am-10pm, 7 days a week
  • High tutor: student ratio
  • Interdisciplinary environment
  • Teaches students to understand and apply Icon's Professional Standards in Conservation
  • Visits from specialists from the heritage and private sectors
  • Visits to museums and active links with heritage bodies

Contact Hours


On the Graduate Diploma you typically have around 20-21 contact hours per week, typically consisting of:

  • 5-6 hours of lectures
  • 1 hour of seminars
  • 11 hours of supervised workshop practicals
  • 2 hours of external trips & visits (on average)
  • 1 hour of one-to-one meetings/tutorials

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars and workshop or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library and preparing coursework assignments and presentations.

Overall workload

Graduate Diploma: 63% of your time is spent in scheduled teaching and learning activity.
Scheduled teaching and learning: 752 hours, Independent learning: 416 hours.

Programme Structure

Programme Structure


You will work in our specialist Furniture workshop where each student has an individual workspace. The workshop is equipped with a full range of power and hand tools.

The on-site Art and Conservation Library puts thousands of specialist books and journals within your reach and you can access specialist databases in the IT suite.

Entry requirements

Degree or qualification at equivalent level to a second year of undergraduate study, e.g. HND, DipHE, experience and ability in woodworking skills, and knowledge of and interest in furniture, object conservation and cultural heritage, and good manual dexterity and observational skills. The Graduate Diploma is accessible to students from both humanities and science backgrounds.

International students will require English language CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or IELTS 6.5 or above. Applicants are interviewed and required to undertake practical and observational tests.



  • £4,130 per term (£12,390 per year)


  • £4,130 per term (£12,390 per year)

Included is mandatory study trip costs of £400, which typically includes tailored visits to collections/exhibitions of specific interest to the programme of study.

Additional costs

Lunch, accommodation and other living expenses are additional, available on request.​

Student Scholarships and Bursaries

Approximately 60% of students receive some form of funding. Find out more


Graduates of the programme often progress to the MA Conservation Studies.

Others pursue work as furniture makers, designers, repairers, restorers or conservators.

Student Perspective

"This has been an intensive year of great visits to museums with behind-the-scenes experiences, instruction from expert furniture conservation professionals, and my own workbench and projects including 18th and 19th century chairs, clocks, a gate-leg table, tea-caddie, and much more. West Dean's comprehensive approach to conservation studies combines both academic studies and intensive practical skills development by working on authentic historical objects. I've gained a greater appreciation of cultural heritage and the confidence to carefully work on a variety of objects."

Cathy Gorton
Graduate Diploma

"It has given me the opportunity to learn about the very different approach to craft in England with its long historical tradition, and to work on historically important objects"

Franciszek de Sage, Graduate Diploma, Conservation of Furniture and Related Objects


Norbert Gutowski

Subject Leader, Furniture & Related Objects

Associate Fellow of the HEA

Norbert is a furniture maker - conservator with almost two decades of tutoring experience, who has also worked extensively as a fine antique furniture conservator- restorer.

Tristram Bainbridge MA ACR

Tristram works as a contract furniture conservator at the V&A and in private practice. He has lectured in conservation at the City and Guilds of London and at Camberwell College of Art.

Program advisors

  • Christopher Claxton Stevens: Decorative Arts Scholar and Consultant
  • Richard Coles: Antique Furniture Dealer
  • Kate Gill: Textile Conservator

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact admissions either by enquiring online or calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out our application form.

Apply now for Degree and Diploma study

Apply now: we are still accepting applications for all subjects for 2019 entry

Applications are welcome from UK/EU and International students.

Learn more about applying and entry

Find out about funding opportunities