School of Conservation Blog

  • Miscellany

    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 …).

  • Books & Library Materials

    In a sticky situation: the removal of pressure-sensitive tape from a 19th century case binding

    Posted on 14th May 2018

    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 student.

  • Books & Library Materials

    Trials and Jubilations in Book Conservation: Part 1

    Posted on 15th April 2018

    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. ...

  • Collections Care & Management

    When is a Disaster Not a Disaster?

    Posted on 5th March 2018

    A disaster in a museum or historic house can range in scale from the theft or damage of an individual object to the wholesale destruction of a collection or property by fire or flood. As a Collections Care Assistant for English Heritage, part of my job is to do anything reasonably practicable to try and prevent such an event from occurring and to help mitigate its effects should the worst happen.

  • Furniture

    Give Them an Inch

    Posted on 16th February 2018

    Most people know that the metric system was introduced in France, associated with the whirlwind of new legislation and standards that followed the French Revolution. However, it is less obvious why this occurred, and why it occurred in France rather than in England or elsewhere.

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