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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.


Furniture & Wood PDF Print E-mail

About the Group

This Group exists to provide a focal point for all interested in wooden objects, from roof trusses to toy omnibuses.

The support of Group members through representation, publication, seminars and educational visits is the primary purpose.

Informal gatherings at places of general interest have proved very popular in the past and a very effective way of bringing ideas to the fore. The committee will promote more such conversation opportunities and any ideas for venues are very welcome. The Icon structure enables any members to attend any special interest group event and this exciting development will be utilized by the Group to broaden the appeal and scope of events.

Most importantly, this is your Group and its success depends upon your support. The committee's role is that of facilitator and is a flexible structure with members joining for just one event or for longer as the individual or Group wishes. Do get involved in whatever way you can.



Course on the use of synthetic resins in the conservation of furniture and wooden objects.

This one day workshop will focus on the use of synthetic resins for use in the conservation of varnished and painted surfaces on furniture and wooden objects. Participants will learn how to mix and apply a range of varnishes and will work on preparing their own sample boards for future reference.

Date and time : Saturday 13 September 2014, 9:30 - 5:00

Maximum participants: 15


Icon members: £110
Student members: £100
Non members: £130

All materials are provided, cost includes tea and coffee. Lunch not included.


Buckinghamshire New University
High Wycombe Campus
Queen Alexandra Road
High Wycombe
HP11 2JZ


To register a place please contact Tristram Bainbridge: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Tristram Bainbridge is a furniture conservator and  lecturer working at the Victoria & Albert Museum and in private practice. He is Associate Tutor in furniture conservation at West Dean College and is a visiting lecturer at City and Guilds of London Art School.

Areas covered:


  • The use of synthetic resins as varnishes including Paraloid B-72, Regalrez 1126 and Laropal A81. Discussion of criteria for selecting appropriate resins.


  • Practical methods of application: choosing appropriate solvents, additives and stabilisers to create different varnish properties. Participants will make sample boards using the materials discussed.


  • There will be a presentation of case studies, historical use, comparison with shellac and other natural resins, and the use of varnishes in relation to retouching methods including Gamblin Conservation Colours.



                                                                              Students mixing resins and preparing sample boards



The Furniture and Wood Group Wilton House Visit



On Monday the 31st of March, furniture professionals and students gathered together at Wilton House in Salisbury for an exciting day of learning. Wilton House has been the Earl of Pembroke’s ancestral home for 460 years. Architects involved in the design of this home include Inigo Jones and John Webb who rebuilt the house in the Palladian style after the 1647 fire whilst James Wyatt made further alterations after 1801.


This sold out event, began bright and early in the Wilton House restaurant, with some people having to drive over 2 hours to get to the venue – demonstrating the enthusiasm for the day’s events. The day started with a few brief introductory talks as well as an introduction to the history of the Wilton House skilfully given to the group by the assistant to the House Manager – Sarah King. Then quickly the tour of the house began. After the introductions, the tour of the House began the set up was that Sarah would introduce the group to each of the rooms pointing out important components of the room then Dr. Campbell Norman-Smith of The Granary Conservation Studios in Lincolnshire discussed conservation efforts that he and his Bucks New University students had conducted over the past four years. Of particular interest were the discussions of the safety aspects and the limitations of working on site in a lived in home. Just the temperature alone would limit the use of certain techniques, for example, the cold temperature would slow evaporation and drying times of some of the materials to such an extent that they were not useable. A wide variety of projects were discussed from picture frames to large Chippendale bookcases. The later was particularly interesting situation where part of the problem was identified as disfigured floorboards that were not supporting the piece correctly. To correct this situation the entire bookcase had to be moved and the floor repaired.


After a brief lunch, the activities continued with the group splitting into two groups. One group intently listened as Yvette Fletcher, Head of Conservation or the Leather Conservation Centre, discuss the conservation of a pair of leather sofas. Included in this discussion was the analysis of prior efforts to restore the pair. The second group were in the next room having a first hand look at a Library Table that was attributed to Thomas Chippendale. The overall structure was discussed as well as observations about the individual features. This series of talks were guided by Dr. Ernest Riall of Lyon’s Restoration in Bucks.


The day ended where it began in the Wilton House Restaurant where it began. At this time, Adrian Smith of the Royal Households gave the closing remarks.


The day was considered by all concerned to be a success confirming the belief that there is a need for this type of event for conservators interested in Furniture and Wood. At this time, the committee is busy getting ready for several upcoming events. We hope to have a training course to offer Furniture and Wood conservators a skill improvement course this summer and a second major event in the fall. As always suggestions by the members are always welcome. Please contact any of the committee members if you have any suggestions or if you have any questions. And finally, thanks to all of you who attended this event.


Ernest Riall  PhD, Furniture Conservator at Lyon's Restoration, LTD


Participants gather under the Bard to listen to Dr. C Norman-Smith discuss the conservation of a large picture frame

The Furniture and Wood Group's Survey findings

The group of is currently working toward making our group an active part of the careers of restorers and conservators throughout England, Scotland and Wales.  As a first step in this process, we conducted a survey in order to find out what events and learning experiences were wanted by the membership.  The survey was sent out and 66 members responded with their thoughts.  A summary of the findings can be found here.






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