Open Day

Look how happy these postgraduate students are to learn about the ash test method of determining the tannage in tanned & tawed skins from Books tutor David Dorning! If this looks like how you want to spend your days, come visit us on November 8 (or later on February 7) for Open Day, where you … Continue reading


All in a Day’s Work

By Sophie Harris We were set a day task to assess both sets of arms and armour that are mounted on the back wall in the Oak Hall at West Dean; this was a taster of what it will be like to work on site. Before carrying out this process a thorough risk assessment and … Continue reading

31a. Repair 4

Treatment of an 18th-Century Chart with Copper Corrosion—Part II

by Roger Williams Aging of verdigris samples In the first part of this blog post, I went over my process for making my own verdigris samples. I set these in the windowsill near my bench in the books department to soak up some daylight. After six weeks of aging, they already display a significant change in … Continue reading


Sewing an Islamic Chevron Endband

Editor’s note: The new academic year has started! Hillary has turned in her MA paper and left West Dean, but while the new students find their way around the college and the old ones dive into new & challenging projects, we thought we’d put up the last posts saved up from the summer and send off … Continue reading


Making an Islamic Binding

By Hillary Jones From the earliest surviving examples in the 9th century, Islamic binding represents not only the incredibly varied talents of centuries of artists, but also the historical influences of the Islamic culture, and the mixing of Islamic artistic traditions across both kingdoms and continents. In May 2014, the book conservation postgraduates faced the … Continue reading


Treatment of the Padlock

By Dorothy Cheng Though the aesthetic results of conservation treatments are extremely important, conservators are equally preoccupied with the stability of vulnerable objects on a level not always apparent to the naked eye. Making treatment decisions involves considering an object not just as a culturally significant or artistic work, but also as a specimen undergoing … Continue reading

WDC blog2

Experience as a Conservator in Singapore

By Mariko Watanabe Since I left the West Dean College in September 2013, I’ve been working as a book and paper conservator at a local company, Q Art Conservation. Initially this company started as a framing company, Q Framing Group, offering framing services using conservation-quality materials. While they grew as one of the leading framing … Continue reading

Image 16

All Torn Up

By Snow Fain It is easy to understand how a tear can happen in books due to the age of the book and through handling. This post will review why a tear can occur and an explanation as to how and why the tears are treated.    The Tear One might shed a tear for a … Continue reading

Consolidation of flaky surface

Conservation of the Pyke Clock wooden case

By Franek de Sage You may have already read about the treatment of the clock movement, automaton dial and barrel organ mechanism done by Jonathon Kelly, and conservation of the metal components carried out by Sophie Harris. The third department involved in this project was Furniture Conservation and I was responsible for all the work … Continue reading

Fig. 3 Removal of the reservoir skin

Pyke Organ Clock Project: Breathing Life into the Bellows

By Jonathon Kelly The previous post opening the bellows explains how the bellows work, assesses their condition and shows historical evidence found inside them. This post outlines the replacement of the outer skins and remedial treatment of the bellows assembly. The approach taken was, as far as possible that any work done should: maintain the integrity of the original … Continue reading


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