In a previous post I described the initial stages of my research
in the properties and preparation of wheat starch paste. Here I
will continue with an outline description of the quantitative and
qualitative tests my paste samples were subjected to, in order to
identify which parameters might influence the properties of
Deciding which course of treatment to take on an object can be a
near-impossible task, and even after I've finished working on a
clock and it's ticking away happily on a test stand, I'll still be
wondering if there was something I should have done slightly
It's the end of another academic year at West Dean! Following a
long tradition from the Books department of having a reception for
students to show their work to and chat with professional
conversators, clients, visiting lecturers, and friends of the
college, the rest of the college now participates on the same day.
I love seeing the same faces turn up year after year to celebrate
with us. Here are some photos for those who couldn't make it in the
The marine chronometer signed by John Lilley & son from 1929
has shown evidences of a failure of one of its major components.
The helical hairspring which is co-regulating the frequency of the
balance (factor determining the rate of the mechanism) was broken
by fracture near its lower attachment point. The aim of the project
was to provide a replacement spring for the chronometer which would
possess the required mechanical properties (toughness, elasticity,
shape, composition …).
Among the various nineteenth century case bindings that rest on
the shelves in the West Dean Books department awaiting treatment
was one that was different to the rest. It was particularly
appealing as its binding was completely covered in
pressure-sensitive adhesive tape and it was therefore an
interesting challenge to take on for a beginning book conservation
While studying at West Dean, a key and sobering lesson I have
learned is that most of the objects you will work on as a book
conservator will be brown. Sometimes reddish-brown, sometimes
greenish-brown, but still basically brown.
Accordingly, there was cause for celebration when The Royal
Jubilee 1935 came across my bench. ...
Recently, I completed work on my MA Thesis which was entitled:
A comparative investigation into the off-gassing properties of
three brands of EVA and PVAc adhesives currently used in book
West Dean is part of a registered charity and relies on the
support of generous donors, friends, legacies to help us deliver
world-class education in conservation and the creative arts and
maintain our award-winning gardens.