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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 launches new internship scheme

The Institute of Conservation (Icon) is today 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 9 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 web page 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 Susan Bradshaw, Professional Development Manager.


More News
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

Marsh Award for Excellence in the Conservation of a Public Sculpture or Fountain

A new Award, run in partnership with the Public Monuments & Sculpture Association (PMSA), has been awarded to Rupert Harris Conservation for their conservation work on the Prince Consort Statue. Proprietor/Head Conservator Rupert Harris is an Accredited Member of Icon. The equestrian statue of the Prince Consort was for many years blighted by its location at the centre of the Holborn Circus roundabou where it suffered from poor maintenance.

The award recognises an individual or group responsible for the restoration of a public sculpture for the benefit of the wider public. The PMSA aims to heighten public appreciation of Britain's public sculpture, and to contribute to its preservation, protection and promotion.

Read more about the award

Icon Member West Dean College Becomes New Training Partner for British Library

Icon Member West Dean College has signed an exciting agreement to collaborate on a programme of training with the British Library, delivering a portfolio of short courses into aspects of preservation and collection care for libraries.

The programme focuses on Continued Professional Development and is aimed at professionals, conservation students and others interested in furthering their skills. The jointly-branded courses will be delivered at West Dean College and the British Library.

Further information can be found on the West Dean website


© 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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