Conservation of Leather with Mike Redwood, Rosie Bolton and Arianne Panton

Object and materials conservation

Ref: M3D11619

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About this course

Leather can be found in a wide range of objects and has been used over many centuries and across the globe. This course is designed both to explore the history, manufacture and chemistry of leather and to review current practice in its conservation, offering those working in conservation the chance to refresh your knowledge of latest techniques. You will learn through a range of lectures, demonstrations and practical sessions. The course will be presented by three leading practitioners working and teaching in this specialist area.
Using a wide range of examples, the course will provide an overview and basis for understanding an approach to leather conservation and developing an appropriate methodology for solving conservation problems, including techniques and materials.
The practical sessions are designed to give an opportunity for conservators to test a range of techniques and materials which they may be able to utilise or adapt for future projects.

Course Description

Day 1: Welcome Talk
Informal welcome and introductions held by course tutors. 

Day 2: What is leather and how is it made?
Presentation Talk: Introduction to the Leather Conservation Centre (LCC), leather basics and housekeeping
Leather: history, production and composition. Looking at methods of construction through the ages   
Deterioration and preventive conservation techniques such as environmental parameters and pests    
Leather analysis: species ID, tannage ID, examination techniques including pH/Ts                             

Day 3: Working with leather
Cleaning materials and techniques, humidification, consolidation
How to approach repairing leather: a look at adhesives and repairs materials
Dyes and colour integration of new leather                                                                                   

Day 4: Putting theory into practice 
A chance for students to share a conservation project relating to leather and related materials, and discuss any questions or issues students have come across in their own practice. 
Issue of certificates. 
14.00- Course ends 


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

Although, due to time constraints, we cannot undertake a conservation project, you are invited to bring objects or details via photos/memory stick for discussion and treatment tests.
All materials required will be supplied but please bring personal conservation hand tools.  International students are not required to bring any tools with them.


Mike Redwood

Mike is a visiting professor at the University of Northampton which has the only Breakching tannery in Europe. He is also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glovers, a Freeman of the Leathersellers’ Company and a Trustee of The Leather Conservation Centre.

Rosie Bolton

After her degree in Fine Art, Rosie completed a Graduate Diploma in Conservation of Book and Library materials at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. She has been a full-time member of the LCC Team since 2016 and is the Studio Manager.

Arianne Panton

Arianne gained an MA in Principles of Conservation from University College London (UCL) and an MSc in Conservation Studies from UCL Qatar. She undertook internships at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver and the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin specialising in organic materials. Following this Arianne held several positions in the Gulf including at the National Museum of Qatar. She has been a full-time member of the LCC since the beginning of 2020.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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