My CV and qualifications are available on the Miscellanea tab.
I am an Icon Accredited independent conservator, specialising in works of art on paper, archives and maps. No matter how bad the situation, I can usually help. I stabilise, repair and restore objects that have been damaged or simply degraded through time, on behalf of both institutions and private clients.
I have been running my own studio for coming up to 4 years. Prior to that I have ten years' experience of working for the British Library, during which time, I conserved maps, parchment, manuscripts, watercolours, gouaches, books, pamphlets, papyrus, birch bark, posters, prints, archives, albums, textile pattern albums, globes and fans- both paper and textiles- within a national institution and for stewards of our national heritage. I am a specialist in large format works, such as maps and posters and papyrus. I have expertise in stabilising mould-affected artifacts and make bespoke housing for objects. I am also a contractor to Tate and National Portrait Gallery. My CV and qualifications are available on the Miscellanea tab.
Until very recently, I was an active member of our professional body, Icon and I was a committee member for ten years of the Book and Paper Group, which I chaired 2013-2016. I am also a founder member of The Book and Paper Gathering weblog [https://thebookandpapergathering.org/] and run the Book and Paper Gathering Facebook page [https://www.facebook.com/thebookandpapergathering/].
My practice is ethically grounded, and my approach is contextual and investigative. I try to always keep the history of the object, and respect all tangible and intangible aspects of the object. Objects are collected by museum and collectors whose museum or collectible meaning, over the years, might change; that is the reason why, as conservators, we have to respect all of the aspects of the object. You will see an example of this in my portfolio pages, on a Tibetan item that is centuries old and still smells of the incense of hundreds of years. When it was acquired by my clients, it had come straight from a monastery. The monks had repaired the pages over the centuries, from using old paper to which include textile sticking plasters which had become tacky. This dimension of the object's history was to be kept and the tricky problem of the pages tacking to each other was solved by designing a special housing for the leaves to keep the repairs of the monks.
I am happy to do surveys with comprehensive reporting and preparation for digitisation programmes and can work from your premises, or at my workshop.
Work begins with a consultation with you. The value of the object can be venal, sentimental, historical, etc. so the guidance of the client is crucial in understanding the values to be conserved and ultimately, the treatment option chosen. Observation of the object is key to create an estimate, which is usually free of charge*; this includes a description and history of the object - this is often provided by the owner or steward, with a condition report of the damage to your object to date. From this, the estimate of main conservation steps is drawn up, and where possible, different options for treatment, with corresponding hours and materials which will be used to conserve the object. Your approval of the estimate is sought at this point and, if accepted, a contract of Terms and Conditions.
A report of the treatments undertaken on the object is provided along with advice on preventing future problems, as well as a suitable storage solution. I keep up to date with the profession, so that treatments are the current accepted best practice in the conservation field. All materials that I use are archival and optimised to enhance the lifetime of your object. I prepare objects for world-class museum exhibitions, and all mounting and framing of objects is to present museum standards.
Work is covered by a professional indemnity insurance. My fees are £50 per hour and a charge is made for materials.
Please get in touch if you have any queries, I am happy to help and advise you. Go to the Contact page and leave a message, I look forward to hearing from you.
Isabelle Egan, 2019
* Multiple object estimates may be charged if tender is not accepted.