Conservation Consultancy

We undertake a limited amount of conservation consultancy for museums, heritage organisations, institutions, antiques trade and private owners. For objects that meet the criteria for the materials we work with, we can advise you on the options available and carry out appropriate treatment, as well as future care of the piece. Every object is unique, as is its use and context, so every treatment proposal is fully discussed with the owner and approved in advance.

Who performs the work?

Under the close supervision of their tutors, students perform the work on carefully selected objects. Working on unique objects supports students to advance their skills to MA level and beyond. 

Quality and expertise is consistent with this learning environment and the scheduling and completion of work is generally tied to an educational timetable and the academic calendar.

Conservation services guiding principles

Condition assessment, stabilisation and cleaning through to repair and sensitive restoration respecting the integrity of our cultural heritage

All work is fully documented.

Preventive conservation is offered including collections survey, storage and transportation consultation and proper display and environmental maintenance.

Conservation of Books and Library Materials

We provide a conservation service for a range of books and associated materials, both manuscript and printed, focussed on the treatment of historic books and collections.

Work is undertaken on leather, cloth, parchment and paper bindings, and related objects such as maps and prints.

Conservation of Metalwork

Consultancy, treatment and report writing is offered for a range of historic metalwork objects. The department provides sensitive and sustainable solutions for the appropriate conservation and restoration of metals.

In all cases the long term stability, future use and display is discussed with you.

Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials

Glass and related materials including enamel and plaster objects can be assessed and conservation treatment performed by us. We advise on archaeological material through to contemporary objects from a broad range of contexts.

We currently have clients from the public and private sectors and projects range from individual treatments to collections care.

Conservation - Restoration of Clocks and Related Objects

The conservation of clocks at West Dean College is centred around the teaching and experience of hand and machine tool skills. It is informed by a professional practice based view of the object. The clocks come from a variety of private and public organisations as well as collectors.

Conservation - Restoration of Furniture and Related Objects

We provide conservation of furniture and a wide range of related objects, emphasising decorative surface coatings, gilding and lost ornamental elements.

Find a Conservator

For a full list of professional conservators who meet Icon's standards please see   

Please note: the College does not undertake conservation of paintings or materials not specified above. 

Help preserve our future

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.

Find out how you can help support us