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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 A New Professional Development Fund For Conservators                

Tru Vue Inc has partnered with the Institute of Conservation (Icon) to provide funding for
mid-career conservators from across the globe to attend professional development
events such as conferences and training courses. This is very welcome as there are very
few sources of funding for this kind of training and employers’ training budgets have
been drastically reduced in recent years.

There will be a formal application process with three deadlines a year. Grants will range
from £300 to £900 and there will be between 10 and 20 grants per year

click here to see the guidelines and for an application form

More News
Dr Jim Tate wins 2014 Plowden Medal

Dr. Jim Tate, formerly of National Museums Scotland, has been awarded the Royal Warrant Holder Association’s 2014 Plowden Medal in recognition of his significant contribution to the advancement of conservation.  

The Plowden Medal is awarded annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement of the conservation profession and whose nomination would be widely welcomed within the conservation community.  The award covers all aspects of conservation be they practical, theoretical or managerial – and is open to those working in private practice or institutions.

In a press release, the Royal Warrant Holders Association explained, 'As a physicist, Jim Tate has used his extensive knowledge of science to great effect.  His collaboration and work within and out-with the conservation sector has been one of his real strengths, whilst much of his scientific research has been conducted on a collaborative basis.  Extremely focused on raising the awareness of conservation, he has co-published around forty papers and articles and has been involved in the organisation of conferences, seminars and events as well as the promotion of conservation and conservation science in Scotland and beyond.'

Icon members Hamilton Kerr resolve Rembrandt debate

Icon members the Hamilton Kerr Institute, based at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, were commissioned by the National Trust to resolve a debate around the authenticity of a 1635 self-portrait long attributed to Rembrandt.

An expert team conducted eight months of painstaking work, including close visual examination under magnification, infra-red reflectography, x-radiography, raking light photography and pigment and medium analysis, along with the removal of layers of yellowing varnish and a close examination of the artist's signature inscription. Based on this, the team were able to determine the work was definitely by Rembrandt.

The portrait is now back on display at Buckland Abbey near Tavistock.

Find out more in media coverage at Devon Life and Cambridge News.

Icon leads call for volunteers

Our call for volunteers has resulted in a list of 150 people standing by. We have conservators of all types, we have joiners, architects, archivists.  We have people that just want to help in any way they can.  There are offers of equipment, transport, buildings nearby, including of equipment on standby at Dundee. This building means so much to so many and people really want to help.

We have been told that, miraculously, there is little salvage to do as parts of the collection have either been completely destroyed or have survived unharmed. National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) , Conservation have now been asked to assess the condition of artwork and associated materials produced by the undergraduate students for their final degree show, with the intention that a programme of remedial work is established swiftly to allow the maximum amount of work to be reinstalled and assessed.   A number of questions have yet to be answered including time frame and location for any work to be carried out and indeed if this is to go ahead however at this point it is possible that significant number of conservators may be required to help deliver this and that this could happen quite swiftly.  We have the list of emails and tweets from potential volunteers. NGS will be back in touch with more details as the project moves forward and needs arise.

Thank you so much for all of your many offers of help.  This has been an astonishing outpouring of goodwill on the part of our profession and others and we can all take pride in being part of it. We will keep you informed of any news coming in on exactly how the salvage and recovery is being undertaken.

Alison Richmond, Chief Executive
Rob Thomson, Chair, Icon Scotland Group

NADFAS appoints our CEO

In a great compliment to her personally and to Icon, Alison Richmond has been appointed to the role of Vice President of the National Association of Decorative & Fine Arts Societies. She joins the current complement of four illustrious VPs: Martin Drury (former Director of the National Trust and a major force in heritage conservation for forty years), Philippa Glanville (metalwork expert, historian and author), Desmond Shawe-Taylor (art historian and Surveyor of the Queen’s Pictures) and Richard Chartres, Bishop of London.

Alison has long been a supporter of NADFAS’s charitable aims and worked closely with
the late David Bell, then Chief Executive of NADFAS, to bring our two organisations
closer together and to work in a complementary way. Alison comments: ‘This is a huge
honour for me and for Icon. I think NADFAS is a key organisation in promoting the value
of heritage and that’s what Icon does too. NADFAS has a logo and branding that
includes conservation. What I would like to do is empower the conservation in the
philosophy of NADFAS and bring it out and build on it.’

New Membership Manager starts on 6th May

Icon is delighted to welcome Michael Nelles to the team. Michael comes to us from Winchester Museums where he has been Visitor Services Team Leader since 2010, responsible for management of three museum and gallery sites in Winchester. He is also the Hon. Membership Secretary for the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society. At Icon, his normal working days will be Tuesday to Friday. His email address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  and his phone number will be 020 3142 6785. 

ArtsMediaPeople win tender to manage the Icon Conservation Awards 2015

Icon has commissioned Erin Barnes and Gemma Clarke of ArtsMediaPeople to manage the Icon Conservation Awards 2015. Erin and Gemma have a great track record of working with the media and cultural organisations, such as Tate and HRP, developing outreach and liaising with audiences. They were the project managers on Art Everywhere which saw the 50 favorite British works of art posted on tens of thousands of billboard sites across the UK in August 2013. The Icon Conservation Awards 2015 are sponsored by Beko plc.


© 2014 Icon - The institute of conservation
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