Chantry Library Subject Bibliographies – No. 2: Egyptian Tomb Painting by Bianca Madden


Chantry blog followers may remember a fantastic talk given by Oxford-based wall paintings conservator, Bianca Madden, on conserving Theban tomb paintings (see our post April 13 2018). We asked Bianca to contribute to our Subject Bibliographies project, and are delighted to announce that her ‘take’ on Egyptian Tomb paintings is now live on the Library website. A taster of Bianca’s introduction follows:

“The field of the conservation of Egyptian tomb paintings has, until recently, received considerably less attention and research than that of other areas of painting and wall painting conservation – this is partly due to the fact that up until the mid-20th century site-based tomb paintings were valued largely for their information, which was preserved through recording and study, and their material fate was less widely considered.”

“The books and articles suggested below cover the basic literature in the field of Egyptian paintings conservation as well as a little of the Egyptological context of the work. They pay particular attention to research and articles into the materials and techniques of construction.  The key for conservation is in understanding the materials and components of the paintings and coatings, and from that to apply conservation practice and processes on a case by case basis.”

If you’re Oxford-based, many of the works Bianca refers to are available at the Bodleian or Sackler Library.

Visit from Oxford University Museum of Natural History staff

Today the Chantry Library and OCC were very happy to host a short visit and tour for collections staff from Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History. The very friendly guests included conservation as well as library and archive staff amongst other specialisms. After being introduced to  the collections and shown round the Library by the (camera-shy) Librarian, the visitors took a few minutes to browse enthusiastically round our collections.

Jane Eagan then talked to them about the conservation work that goes on at OCC more generally – rudely interrupted for a quick photo-call!


The museum staff were then taken on a tour of the conservation studio, where OCC conservators gave them a taste of some of the projects currently being undertaken.

By a lucky coincidence some of the current projects involved material with a natural history dimension, including one with biological specimens. Common themes – such as the use of Japanese paper or tissue in different areas of conservation work – soon cropped up.

IMG_1268It was a great pleasure to host such an informed and interested group, and various of us at OCC look forward to a return visit to the Museum.




IIC News in Conservation

IIC have launched a new interactive format for their News in Conservation. See page 14 for a feature on the history of ICCROM’s conservation library. Velios and St John outline the linked conservation data and terminology project on p.22, and Georgios Boudalis’ Codex and Crafts, recently purchased for the Chantry collection, is reviewed on p.33.


Midlands Conservators Group visit 21st March

Last Thursday the Chantry Library and Oxford Conservation Consortium hosted the Midlands Conservators Group Meeting in Oxford. The first talk was given by Edward Adcock of the Bodleian Libraries’ Packaging & Delivery Service (PADS). OCC’s own Katerina Powell and Maria Kalligerou then gave a presentation on the Magdalen College Greek Manuscript Project. The conservators were taken on a tour of the OCC studio.

MCG Visit 21 March for blog 2.JPG
Midlands Conservators being shown round the OCC studio
MCG Visit 21 March for blog.jpg
Visit to the Chantry Library

This included a short visit to the Chantry Library, where we were very pleased to welcome them even if it was a bit of a crush! A small display of new books – plus some about Greek manuscript conservation – had been put out for the conservators to have a look at. The meeting concluded after lunch with a tour of the rather larger library at Christ Church. We hope the conservators had a lovely day in Oxford!

Ben Arnold

Chantry Librarian

Maria Borg – a conservation student working in the Chantry


As part of my postgraduate studies at West Dean College in West Sussex, UK, I have had the wonderful opportunity of doing my work placement at the Oxford Conservation Consortium between January and February 2019. The focus of my placement was the cleaning, re-housing and repair techniques on parchment. Apart from the practical work and the numerous external visits to different libraries and archives in Oxford, one of the best aspects of my placement was having access to the Chantry Library.

For a student such as myself, the library provides an inviting and comfortable space where I was able to consolidate my learning in the studio. I was able to learn more about a variety of materials and objects such parchment and seals, as well as read about interesting conservation topics, including preventive conservation and condition surveys. The variety of resources at the library were also very helpful for me to finish course work related to my studies, including research for a science report.


The library is up-to-date with the latest publications and resources, which makes it an exceptional resource for students, conservators and other professionals in the field. Personally, it was a remarkable experience as I was able to carry out my ongoing research and build on the knowledge and experience I was acquiring within the studio. Having a well-resourced library which is close to a conservation studio is a great benefit, and it has motivated me to create more awareness about the importance of making libraries accessible to conservators and students. I highly recommend making a trip or visiting the library; I look forward to visiting the library again already!

Written by Maria Borg

IIC 2018 Turin Congress Preprints now in the Chantry Library

Chantry Library is keeping up its run of IIC Preprints, and we’ve just received Preventive Conservation: The State of the Art. [Supplement S1 for vol. 63 of Studies in Conservation, IIC 2018 Turin Congress Preprints].

This Congress marks a return to the subject of preventive conservation for IIC, after a 24-year hiatus. In her Foreword, Sarah Staniforth notes that, in that time, preventive conservation has moved to the centre stage of heritage management. This preprint volume ‘captures’ developments in scientific understanding and practice, but also brings to the fore issues that exercise conservators. There are  almost 50 papers, some returning to subjects last covered in 1994 at the Ottawa Congress of IIC. Of particular interest for some is the paper ‘Conservation Heating 24 years On’ by Nigel Blades, Katy Lithgow, Sarah Staniforth and Bob Hayes which has been an important source of information in the control of RH in historic buildings.

Chantry Library Subject Bibliographies — A new research tool offering ‘curated’ information to conservators


We are pleased to announce a new resource, the Chantry Library Subject Bibliographies. Through the bibliographies, we hope to support the work of conservators by sharing curated information in the form of an up-to-date list of relevant sources, chosen by a subject specialist. The sources will be accompanied by a descriptive, evaluative annotation to inform readers of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the works cited, making it easier to evaluate the literature on a given subject. Whether you are a conservation student, an early career conservator on the PACR Pathway, or working on CPD, we hope that the Chantry Library Subject Bibliographies will help you explore the topic of your choice.


We are very pleased that our first bibliography is by Jasdip Singh Dhillon, winner of the Book and Paper Group’s annual Frederick Bearman Research Grant, for his research into South Asian paper. To see Jasdip’s Bibliography, visit our  Subject Bibliographies page.