Year in Review: Five Highlights from 2021

The Conservation Community’s highlights from last year

03 Jan 2022


As the new year begins, we like to reflect back on what happened last year, remembering interesting projects and lessons learned. Join us as we recount some of the conservation community’s highlights from 2021:


1. Digging deeper: Nigel Williams and Sutton Hoo 

The Dig was released on Netflix at the end of January. The film is based on John Preston's historical novel and explores the story of the discovery in 1939 of the famous Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo. The Icon Ceramics & Glass Group dug a little deeper into one of the key protagonists responsible for unlocking the secrets of the incredible archaeological discovery of Sutton Hoo: conservator Nigel Williams.


2. Icon publishes Values of Conservation research report

Icon's Values of Conservation project sought out to identify and articulate the values of cultural heritage conservation to society and to consider how we can better communicate them to audiences. Starting with the ‘why’ of conservation can help us to embed values within every aspect of our messaging and increase awareness of the profession’s impact.


3. Elizabeth Tower conservation gathers pace ahead of completion in 2022

The conservation of the Elizabeth Tower has moved another step closer to completion, as further details about the progress of the works were unveiled.


4. Moving Tributes: Conserving the Marcus Rashford wall messages

The defacement of the Marcus Rashford tribute in Withington was shocking, but the subsequent flood of positive messages that covered the offensive graffiti restored a nation’s sense that the reactionaries were still in the minority. Manchester Central Library worked alongside conservators at the Manchester Museum and the University to remove and preserve the material.


5. Revealing Cupid: Restoration of Vermeer’s ‘Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window’ completed

After a full restoration, and for the first time in over two and a half centuries, Johannes Vermeer’s well-known and loved painting ‘Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window’ has been returned to its original condition when it left the artist’s studio. The restoration revealed a standing Cupid with a bow, arrows and two masks in the background.


We're proud of what the conservation community has accomplished in 2021 and we're looking forward to what we will accomplish in 2022. 


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