A Talk: Conserving Theban tomb paintings

On Thursday 29th March, we welcomed Bianca Madden and the Oxford Conservator’s Group to OCC and the Chantry Library. Bianca gave a great talk on her work with Theban tomb paintings, exploring the technical challenges and ethical dilemmas of the conservation treatments. Using the Tomb of Sennefer as a case study, the talk was a fascinating insight into wall painting conservation and the strengths and weaknesses of international collaboration.

Bianca Madden at OCC for OCG

Check out more about the project and Bianca’s work at

Thanks also to the Oxford Conservators group for organising the event, you can find out more about the group here: and on twitter at @oxcongroup.

Interested in finding out more about wall painting conservation? Here’s something off the Chantry shelves:

Conserving the Painted Past
Gowing, Robert Conserving the Painted Past (2003: London)

50 shades of brown

We’ve been busy in the OCC studio dyeing batches of fabric for board slotting. Reactive dyes are a great way of doing this, and Edward Simpson’s article is still the seminal text on methodology in a conservation context.  Luckily, the Chantry library has all of the Paper Conservation News dating back to 1976.

2018_OCC cloth dye samples
Simpson, E. ‘Dyeing aerolinen and aerocotton with reactive dyes’ Paper Conservation News 71 pp.7-9 (1994)

A guide to the world of Photoreproductions

Here at OCC we’re working on a number of damaged and deteriorated architectural photoreproductions. Kissel and Vigneau’s text is proving indispensable for identifying the photographic process, and agents of deterioration.  Great that there’s a copy in the Chantry!

Kissel, E., and Vigneau, E. Architectural photoreproductions: a manual for identification and care (1999: Newcastle)

Library visit from the Traherne Project

The Chantry Library and OCC look forward to welcoming the 2018 Oxford Traherne summer students and introducing them to conservation and  the Chantry collection. You can read about the 2017 visit here:


Details about this collaborative project to edit the works of the seventeenth-century poet and divine, Thomas Traherne (c.1637-1674) may be found here:

Library news

The Chantry Library has had a closed period for work on the collection. We are very happy to have Library Assistant Margaret Wainwright helping us with reorganising the book collection and sorting new acquisitions and gifts to the library. Maggie can normally be found in the library at Magdalen College,

In picture: Maggie Wainwright (left) and OCC conservator Lisa Handke (right) in the Chantry Library.

New donation

Through our library volunteer, Cathrin Wieduwild, the Conservation Department of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden – Gemäldegalerie Alte und Neue Meister, has donated three books to the Chantry library. Many thanks to the Museum for their generous support and to Cathrin for her summary of the books which follows.

The first, Spanische Malerei – Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister Bestandskatalog, is a catalogue from the Old Master Picture Gallery, Dresden, where paintings from all the important artists of the Spanish school are on exhibition. This book was written by Mattias Weniger in collaboration with the Conservation Department of the Old Master Picture Gallery, Dresden, and the paintings are explained from  history of art and art technology points of view as well as the history of the collection in general.

The second, Gerettet – Die Restaurierung der grossen Formate nach der Flut 2002, [English title: Rescued – The Restoration of the Large Paintings after the Flood 2002], describes the amazing commitment of gallery staff and volunteers during the devastating flood of 2002 in Dresden. Whilst the water was rising, they transported over 3000 paintings and frames from the lower floor to the safe upper rooms within a few hours on 13th August. Because of an electrical power outage it was not possible to transport the large paintings to safety using the lift, but it was possible to hang them under the ceiling. 15 large paintings rolled onto cylinders suffered damage. Directly after the water was gone the conservation was started, followed by restoration of the paintings. This book reports on the problems encountered during the restoration and the successes.

The last book, Restaurierte Kunstwerke in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, [English title: Restored Artworks in the German Democratic Republic (GDR)] gives an overview of conservation and restoration in the former East Germany on artworks from the early middle ages to the 1980s, described by institutional and freelance conservators of cultural heritage.

Summer closure, but we’ll try!

DSCN8973While the Chantry Library is closed for the summer, we will do our best to accommodate readers. Andrew Honey, Book Conservator, Research and Teaching, at the Bodleian Libraries, uses the conference paper collection to check an article by Chris Clarkson which appeared in the postprints of Icon’s first (and IPC’s last) international conference, Edinburgh 2006. He was delighted to find the conference handbook as well!