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Icon welcomes individuals and organisations from all backgrounds who identify with the conservation and preservation of our cultural heritage.  Our membership embraces the entire conservation community as well as members of the public who are keen to learn more or show their support for conservation work.


Welcome to the website of Icon, the lead voice for the conservation of cultural heritage in the UK. Icon's membership embraces the wider conservation community, incorporating not only professional conservators in all disciplines, but all others who share a commitment to improving understanding of and access to our cultural heritage.

Icon announces shortlist for 2015 Conservation Awards

The Institute of Conservation has announced the shortlist for the 2015 Icon Conservation Awards, which has this year attracted a “huge increase in entries”.

Some of the highest-profile conservation projects in the world have been shortlisted, including work at the Tate, Imperial War Museum and Sissinghurst Castle.

Icon Chief Executive Alison Richmond said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the huge increase in entries this year, and thrilled about the range and calibre of those entries."

She added: "The screening panels had a hugely difficult task putting the shortlists together from a strong group of applications but we have a final list that reflects the diversity of the many wonderful conservation projects being undertaken by skilled professional conservators and dedicated volunteers throughout the UK.”

Sponsored by Beko, the Icon Conservation Awards recognise the highest standards of conservation, research and collections care within the UK art and heritage sectors.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 22 October 2015 at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1 Birdcage Walk, London.

Find out more about the Conservation Awards. Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with news about the awards, using the hashtag #IconAwards15.

The shortlist in full:

The Pilgrim Trust Award for Conservation
Recognising excellence in conserving an individual or collection of cultural heritage objects in the UK

Wrest Park Collections Store - Amber Xavier Rowe, English Heritage

Conservation of The Great Parchment Book - Caroline De Stefani, London Metropolitan Archives

Staffordshire Hoard Conservation Programme: Stage 1 - Pieta Greaves, Birmingham Museums

The Swiss Garden Restoration Project - Russel Turner, Eura Conservation, Simon Swan Associates, and Crick Smith, University of Lincoln

The Icon Award for Conservation in the Community
Recognising the excellence achieved by volunteers working with conservators

Conservation Club - led by Derek Brain, Birmingham Museums Trust

Resurrecting the Coffin Works: Sharing Skills, Building a Legacy - led by Deborah Magnoler and Dawn Holland, Birmingham Conservation Trust

Sissinghurst Castle Library Book Conservation Project - led by Caroline Bendix and Vicky McBrien

Skeleton Crew - led by Natalie Jones, Vicky Singleton and Neil Smith, Museum of Zoology Cambridge

The Pilgrim Trust Student Conservator of the Year Award
Recognising the accomplishments of a student conservator in conservation

Abigail Moore, Durham University – Museum of London Handbag Collection: Condition Survey and Identification of Plastic Components

Francoise Collanges, West Dean College – Conservation of an Early Electric Master Clock: Making a Copy as a Conservation Tool

Gemma McBader, Cardiff University – The Investigation and Conservation of a 19th Century Ethiopian Emperor’s Shield

Charlotte Gamper, University of Glasgow – Viscose Rayon: An Absorbing Problem

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact
Recognising excellence in conservation of operational or static examples of engineering

Crosslé Mark III Motor Racing Car - Crosslé Car Company

Grand Fountain Restoration, Paisley - Renfrewshire Council, Historic Scotland, Lost Art and Industrial Heritage Consulting Ltd

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers Award for Volunteering in the Conservation of an Industrial Heritage Artefact
Recognising excellence in engineering conservation of an artefact or collection for a project that has significant volunteer engagement

Steam Pinnace 199 - Group 199 (Volunteers at the National Museum of the Royal Navy)

EDSAC Replica - EDSAC Replica Project

The Anna Plowden Trust Award for Research and Innovation in Conservation
Recognising achievements in conservation research and development

The Magna Carta Project – The British Library

IWM and the War Against Dust: Space vacuums, air bazookas and duster drones - Imperial War Museum

The Rothko Conservation Project - Tate






More News
Recognition for heritage in Queen's birthday honours

The Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2015 has shone a light on the outstanding conservation and restoration work being undertaken at present in the UK heritage sector.

To the great delight of Barley Studio in Yorkshire, their Founder and Managing Director, Icon member Keith Barley ACR is to receive an MBE "for service to cultural restoration and conservation". The honour follows conservation treatments undertaken by Barley Studios at both St Nicholas, Stanford on Avon and St Mary, Fairford. The work carried out at Fairford earned Barley Studio the National Award for Conservation, presented jointly by the Jerwood Foundation and the Museums and Galleries Commission, in 1998.

Barley said he was "surprised and enormously delighted". He said he was particularly pleased with the citation for both restoration and conservation, as it reflects his desire to treat stained glass windows as a work of art rather than merely an object of antiquity.

Having begun his career as the first apprentice of the newly formed York Glaziers Trust, based at York Minster, Keith became the pioneer of using environmental protective glazing to preserve vulnerable medieval windows.

Icon member Sarah Brown, Director of the York Glaziers Trust, commented: "The sensitive approach to the balance between conservation and restoration achieved by Barley Studio at Stanford on Avon and Fairford revealed to many the capacity of stained glass conservation to transform public engagement with the medium."

Also an ambassador for our built heritage, Dr Loyd Grossman OBE, FSA, will receive a CBE for services to heritage. Currently Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust and of the Heritage Alliance, Dr Grossman is also President of NADFAS.

Other accolades in the arts and heritage sector include, Mrs Philippa Glanville, for services to the Decorative Arts and Arts Heritage (London); Ms Perdita Hunt, DL Director and Mrs Gergaud, Watts Gallery, for services to the Arts (Godalming, Surrey); Dr Maria Jane Balshaw Director, Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery, for services to the Arts.

National Trust releases statement on Clandon Park fire

The National Trust has released a statement from head conservator Katy Lithgow regarding the devastating fire at Clandon Park in Surrey, which broke out on 29 April.

An investigation is currently undergoing into the cause of the fire, which has left the Palladian mansion extensively damaged. According to Lithgow, "Thankfully no one was injured but, as media photographs have shown, damage is extensive. Nevertheless, significant elements of the collection as well as the interior have survived."

She also expressed thanks for offers of help.

The statement in full:

"Since the awful fire on Wednesday 29th April at Clandon Park, near Guildford in Surrey, the National Trust has received much sympathy and many offers of support from conservators, for which it is immensely grateful.

"This Palladian mansion, dating from the 1720s, boasted fabulous interiors including the double-height Marble Hall, and extensive collections of eighteenth century furniture, paintings, textiles and ceramics. Thankfully no one was injured but, as media photographs have shown, damage is extensive.

"Nevertheless, significant elements of the collection as well as the interior have survived, thanks to the heroic efforts of the Surrey Fire and Rescue Services working with National Trust staff. This demonstrates yet again the value of establishing an emergency plan and regular training and liaison with the emergency services.

"The collection which was removed from the house during the fire has been checked, inventoried and sent to safe storage, and the salvage of remaining objects and excavation of the interior will be taking place when the structure is declared safe. We are drawing on our experience at Uppark in 1989, as well as others’ experience of more recent events.

"We hope that the excavation will offer learning opportunities for, not only experienced conservators and curators, but also trainees and those newly qualified, as well as volunteers. We will keep you posted as our plans progress."

Katy Lithgow, Head Conservator

Free Journal articles from Taylor & Francis

This April saw Icon's successful Adapt & Evolve Conference hosted by the Icon Book & Paper Group.

Academic publisher Taylor & Francis have generously uploaded a selection of articles from the Journal of the Institute of Conservation relating to the conference. The articles are free for both members and non-members to read.

The articles explore a number of the themes from the conference including the materials and techniques being used in the conservation of East Asian pieces in Western collections. 

All of the articles listed are free for both member and non-members to access online until the end of June 2015.

Read the articles.

Icon's new website set to launch this July

Icon is to launch a new website this summer, which we hope will reflect the dynamic and outward-looking nature of conservation in the 21st century.

We invited tenders in December last year, and this February appointed Kolab Digital to design the new site. Kolab is based in Poole, Dorset with an office in Hatton Garden.

In March we held a workshop with Kolab and the pace has since been hectic. We are currently surveying the ‘wireframes’, which are used to develop the overall structure of the site, and working on the final graphic design concept.

Representatives from each of Icon’s specialist groups were invited to attend a presentation on 29 March, to obtain their suggestions for the new site. Nine members from eight of Icon’s groups attended, along with members of staff from the Icon office. The workshop was a great success, and many positive ideas were put forward.

The new site will be based on the Drupal 7 content management system, which is not only very powerful and flexible but also very easy to use. More information and training will be given to groups’ editorial teams very soon.

In another exciting development, Katie Allen joined us in late March as our new Digital Content Officer. You will be hearing a lot from Katie as she will not only be running the new website but she will be generating social media output alongside Michael Nelles, Membership Manager, and Alison Richmond, Chief Executive.

The new site will be very “image rich”, with plenty of opportunities for photos and videos of the conservation community and their work. Please send anything you think might be of interest to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

The website is scheduled to launch this July. Check back to hear more about the developments.

Icon launches new internship scheme

The Institute of Conservation (Icon) is delighted to announce the launch of its updated Icon Internship Programme (IIP).

This new programme follows in the footsteps of the successful Heritage Lottery-funded work-based training bursary scheme, delivered by Icon, which has over the last nine years placed 101 non-conservation and conservation-trained interns with a variety of hosts across a range of disciplines.  Today over 90% of those former interns are now employed or pursuing further training within the Cultural Heritage Sector.

Alongside this scheme Icon has also worked with other grant-making bodies and partner employers to provide a further 45 work-based training placements.  
With the completion of the HLF-funded programme, Icon is fully committed to delivering a legacy internship programme and continue to develop new entrants into the conservation profession.

For further information about Icon’s Internship Programme, please see the new IIP leaflet and visit our site for all of the information you will need for setting up an internship, including current fees and a recommended timetable.

If you would like to discuss your ideas about hosting and, or funding an intern – please discuss them with  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it " data-mce-href="mailto: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ">Susan Bradshaw, Professional Development Manager.

Icon Member Sarah Staniforth ACR awarded CBE

Icon member Sarah Staniforth ACR has been appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours list for her services to National Heritage.
Sarah has been an outstanding figure in the field of heritage conservation for many years, and her work is internationally recognised.  Over her career to date she has transformed the theory and practice of conservation, demystifying it for many and introducing sustainable approaches to the care of historic houses and artefacts across the UK.

Her research combines academic rigour with practical, real world application, and her latest book, Historical Perspectives on Preventative Conservation, was published last year.
Sarah has written and lectured extensively on preventive conservation for collections in museums and historic houses; some of this work is recorded in the National Trust Manual of Housekeeping, which was published in 2006 with a revised edition in 2011.
Alison Richmond, Icon Chief Executive, commented, 'Sarah changed the way conservators and their fellow professionals think about and do conservation. She is outstanding in the true sense of the word and certainly deserves to be honoured in this way'.
Sarah has worked at the National Trust since 1985, rising to become Head Conservator and finally Museum and Collections Director. Among Sarah's many voluntary roles for many years she served on the Council of IIC (International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works), initially as a Council Member then as Vice-President.  She was elected President of IIC in January 2013, and was the first Chair of the National Heritage Science Forum.  She has also served on the Council of the Museums Association, the United Kingdom Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works, and the Association of Independent Museums. She is a Fellow of IIC, the Society of Antiquaries and the Royal Society of Arts.  
Congratulations Sarah!


© 2015 Icon - The Institute of Conservation. Icon is registered as a Charity in England and Wales (Number 1108380) and in Scotland (Number SC039336) and is a Company Limited by Guarantee, (Number 5201058)
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