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

Screen shot 2014-07-23 at 11.54.29 AM

Awards Day 2014

  We had some old faces (MA students) back at West Dean for graduation recently, and some new ones accepting diplomas and awards. Some photos from the day:   Peter Pierce, our Chief Executive; you might remember him from this:   Francine Norris is our new Director of Education:   William:   Mary:   Rachel: … Continue reading

han horse tail bonding in process

Conservation of a Han Dynasty Mythical Beast

By Sally Place One of my favourite assignments this year has been the opportunity to conserve a Han Dynasty mythological creature.  This fine low-fired grey earthenware object is very likely to have been buried in a tomb along with other grave goods for a wealthy Han citizen over 2,000 years ago. The worship of Heaven … Continue reading


Books Department Private View

Every year the graduating students in the books department, first- and second-years, start the graduation exhibition early with a private view—and some Pimms—for colleagues & clients. Thank you to everyone who came! We were really happy to see some familiar faces and show off everyone’s hard work over the year. Today is the graduation ceremony … Continue reading

Tempering the metal with a torch

BOOKIES IN THE FORGE! (And nothing burned down.)

By Tiffany Eng A few weeks ago, the Books and Library Materials department got the chance to go down to the forge and work on some conservation or bookbinding tools. Which was pretty cool. On the Sunday night before the two days full days we were going to spend in the forge, our tutor Andrew … Continue reading

Photo 1

A case study – Bow Factory Goldfinch

By Ronnie Kam This is a soft paste porcelain goldfinch figure made by the Bow factory c1765. The polychromatic goldfinch is standing on a stem with five small protruding flowers and green leaves as decoration. Two labels are attached on the figure. One is at the back of the goldfinch and the other was found … Continue reading

Missing Carvings

Loss Compensation on an 18th Century Ebonised Table Cabinet

By Kate Aughey Despite the age of this charming little cabinet, the losses to ripple mouldings, carved motifs and pressed foils were fairly minimal. A small section of ripple moulding missing from the front of one door distracted attention away from the otherwise pretty proportions. Although less disfiguring, two carved motifs had also been lost … Continue reading


Starting the metals work on Pyke clock

By Sophie Harris As part of my postgraduate diploma work it is my job to project manage the metal components of an inter-departmental collaboration between furniture, metals and a contracted horologist, Jonathon Kelly. The object it is the pedestal organ clock by George Pyke, of London, that you’ve already seen in Jonathon’s posts. I will be specifically … Continue reading

imari in 10 pieces ready for bondingbonding

Conservation of a Japanese Imari Charger

Introduction A large, colourful, highly decorated hard paste porcelain Imari charger made its way into the West Dean Department of Conservation of Ceramics and Related Materials at the end of 2013. The Japanese plate, 46cm in diameter and 6cm high, had seen better days and was desperately in need of some TLC. Probably made in … Continue reading

02. Close-up of numbers

Treatment of an 18th Century Chart with Copper Corrosion

By Roger Williams Part I: Analysis Currently at my bench is a mid-18th-century manuscript chart of a section of the Bahamas: “A Plan of the Harbour of Providence and of the islands adjacent survey’d by Capt. John Gascoigne.” There is no production date. The only date mentioned in its cartouche is 1729, though this is probably … Continue reading


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