School of Conservation Blog

Metalwork

A stab in the dark: Conserving a mysterious knife at West Dean

Posted on 10th May 2019

Zora Sanders takes us through her investigation into a mysterious knife; as she tries to uncover its origins and purpose.

When I began my studies in Metalwork Conservation at West Dean last October, the first object I was given to treat appeared to be a fairly ordinary knife. Which just goes to show that looks can be deceptive....

  • Books & Library Materials

    'Not all that glitters is gold' - metallic pigments in a Victorian scrapbook

    Posted on 23rd April 2019

    One of the items I treated this year was a late 19th Century Victorian scrapbook. The scrapbook was made for a child and the contents directly reflect this. It was filled with clippings from magazines, stickers, poems that referenced children stories, animals, and other imagery which might have appealed to a child at the time. Additionally, it was filled with elaborate, original artwork by the woman who created it...

  • Alumni

    The Sticky Issue of Making Paste (Part II)

    Posted on 10th December 2018

    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 paste.

  • Clocks

    Freedom of Choice

    Posted on 3rd December 2018

    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 differently...

  • Miscellaney

    Private View 2018

    Posted on 6th July 2018

    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 flesh!

  • Clocks

    Replication of a Marine Chronometer Gold Alloy Helical Spring: Conservation Project

    Posted on 12th June 2018

    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 …).

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