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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.


Nigel Williams Prize PDF Print E-mail

  • Have you recently (or within the last three years) completed a piece of conservation/restoration work in ceramics, glass, or some related material that might also be of interest to others in the profession?
  • Did it present some interesting challenges, technically and/or ethically, requiring perhaps some lateral thinking?
  • Would the project fit the Applications Criteria below? 
If the answers to the above are generally YES, then why not apply for the
2016 Nigel Williams Prize!


What is the Prize?

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   The bi-annual Prize, divided into 3 categories (see below) is the result of the collaboration between Nigel Williams’ family and the Icon Glass and Ceramics Group. It was created to serve both as a memorial to Nigel’s work and to encourage continuing high standards at all levels within the profession.

The Main Prize: The Winner receives £1000, together with a “virtual” presentation of a gilded ceramic copy of the Portland Vase (kindly donated by Wedgwood and kept at the Museum).

The Secondary Prize: entirely at the judges’ discretion, a Secondary Prize of £400 may be awarded to any applicant considered to be a close runner-up.

 The Student Prize: Applications in this section must have been completed while the applicant was still in full-time or further education. The winner receives £250.

(Please note: While entries are invited from Icon members living outside the UK, all Awards are issued in Sterling).


Application Criteria:

Entries are invited from any member of Icon, whether in the public or private sector. The project must have been completed within three years prior to the next Award (2016) and may be either preventive or interventive (or both). The primary focus of the project must be on the conservation/restoration of ceramics, glass, or a related material.


Eligible Projects must:

  • Demonstrate excellent conservation/restoration work involving a degree of complexity, ingenuity and problem solving.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of conservation materials (past and present), together with Health & Safety and insurance awareness and compliance.
  • Demonstrate thorough documentation including photography and clarity in methodology.
  • Promote good practice, and provide guidance for clients on the future care of conserved objects.
  • Be capable of being submitted for publication in Icon News or The Journal of the Institute of Conservation, providing some educational benefit to the profession.


A panel of three judges drawn from both the public and private sector will assess each submission, and their decision is final. (Each applicant, if they so wish, can be provided with a summary of the judges ‘assessment in their individual case).


How to apply: 

Click here to download an application form or alternatively you can contact the Prize Co-ordinator Ronald Pile by email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  Applicants are welcome to discuss any ideas/queries prior to submission). 

Submissions require 1 hard copy and 1 e-copy each of the following:

  • A completed application form
  • A brief CV (or CV’s for a joint project)
  • An abstract describing the project (max. 250 words)
  • A maximum of 3000 words outlining the project and describing the work undertaken
  • Up to 20 images on CD

The Application Dead-line for the next Award is 31st March 2016

A bit of history:

In the 1960s, before conservation was seen as a profession, a 16-year old called Nigel Williams started work as a museum assistant the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities in the British Museum. Though he worked on a variety of antiquities, ceramics proved to be his primary and lasting passion, and with that creative mixture of hard graft, good hand-skills and resourcefulness, he eventually became Head of the Ceramics and Glass Conservation section at the museum. His name has since come to be associated with the conservation and restoration of some of the museum’s best known objects, especially the Sutton Hoo Helmet and the Portland Vase.


In 1994, at the relatively young age of 49, Nigel died suddenly during a British Museum excavation in Jordan. By way of a memorial to his achievements and to the professional values that he upheld, the Ceramics and Glass Conservation Group, together with Nigel’s family, later created a Prize to be awarded in his name.


The current organisers recognise that for most conservators today the opportunities to conserve or restore high-profile objects such as the Portland Vase are rare. Thus, in acknowledgement of another important aspect of Nigel’s work, the Prize is awarded as much in a spirit of encouragement as in that of healthy competition, recognising the value of consistent and day-to-day professional practice. Nigel himself was a great encourager, sharing his knowledge over the years by teaching evening classes, giving lectures both in Britain and abroad, and through his book on Porcelain Repair and Restoration.


Award Ceremony History:

2002: First Award given to Ken Watt, (Senior Tutor in Ceramics and Glass Conservation/Restoration at West Dean College), for his “unmatched contribution” to the subject.

2004: No Award given.

2006: Winner Alex Patchett-Joyce: The re-construction of an early 17 century Tyrolean Tiled Stove.

Highly Commended: Monik Lefebvre: The restoration of a 19 century Carrara marble bust.

2008: Winner Lisa Brierley (nee Stertz): The Conservation of a Blashka Glass model.

2010: Winner Lynne Edge: The Conservation of a Glass Opus Sectile WWI/II War Memorial.

Runner-up: Robert Turner: The Conservation of Edwardian Tiled Panels using a Diamond Wire Saw.

2012: No Award given.

2014: Main Prize winners Pete David and Judy Pinkham: The Conservation of “32 Anos”, and art installation of floor tiles by the artist Teresa Margolles.

Student Prize: Sara Amerio: The Restoration of a 19 century stained glass window from Milan Cathedral


 Past Nigel Williams Prize winners:    

 Prize Award 2014        Prize Award 2010         

 Prize Award 2008        Prize Award 2006


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