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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.

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. Articles on the topic include Rescuing tsunami-damaged photographs in Japan by Yoko Shiraiwa and A new approach to the conservation and presentation of ukiyo-e prints by Valérie Lee, Nobuyuki Kamba, Yuko Tsuchiya and Huan-Shen Lin.

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.


More News
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!

Exciting opportunity for new conservators to gain experience and learn

The June Baker Trust is delighted to announce an exciting new grants scheme dedicated to helping Scottish conservators at an early stage in their careers to make a smooth transition from education to the workplace and establish themselves in the profession.

The scheme has been made possible thanks to the generosity of the Gordon Fraser Charitable Trust. It will run for three years alongside the existing June Baker Trust Conservation Awards scheme, with the first awards of up to £1,000 per applicant being made in May 2015.

The Scottish Emerging Conservators Grants Scheme will give grants to support conservators who are between 6 months and 3 years of qualifying and in the process of gaining their early workplace experience to fund learning and development plan of their own choosing. Applications are invited from new conservators who are gaining practical experience in Scottish conservation workplaces, or, if gaining their work experience elsewhere can otherwise demonstrate a strong Scottish connection and commitment to conservation in Scotland.

Application forms and Guidance for Applicants 

Public Restoration and New Discovery: Constable's The Mill Stream

On Thursday 3rd December, BBC Look East broadcast a feature about Icon member Rosalind Whitehouse and her conservation of John Constable's The Mill Stream (1814). Whitehouse was asked to clean and restore the painting in view of the public – exactly 200 years since it was painted.

This was done at Christchurch Mansion Museum, Ipswich, where the collection of Constable paintings is housed - right on the edge of Constable Country. Whitehouse explains, "I worked there three days a week in a room with the door open and a viewing bay, with informed volunteers manning the door. They were great. There was a daily Palace Bulletin by the door, alerting the public to the plan for the day, and images of what had been done the day before, as well as a general FAQ information board. At 12.30 each day I was available for questions."

The whole process has been filmed and will go on a loop when Constable's Salisbury Cathedral painting visits Ipswich next year, and there will be a lot of Constable publicity in the area. A longer version will be made too for various purposes. According to Whitehouse, a delightful finding was a tiny kingfisher swooping over the water in the shadows of the painting, that nobody seems to have noticed before. X rays, paint sampling and close investigation gave detailed information on the process of the artist’s work, the results of which could be aligned with the great amount of published work on other works by Constable previously completed by Sarah Cove. 

The Telegraph also covered the story - read the article here.

Musée d'Orsay announces campaign to restore Gustave Courbet's 'The Painter's Studio'

As reported by artdaily:

Acquired by the State through public subscription in 1920, the painting The Painter's Studio (1854-1855) by Gustave Courbet is a universal masterpiece that is part of France's cultural heritage.

After surviving more than a century of turbulent history, this 22 m² canvas is now in need of restoration. As this treasure belongs to everyone in France, the Musée d'Orsay is once again calling on the generosity of the public to help finance its restoration and to enable as many people as possible to participate in this project, beyond the traditional patrons.

Read more about this project at


© 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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