Restoration or Conservation ~ Two sides of the same coin

Attingham ParkThere is a great deal of hypocritical nonsense talked about the subject of restoration, which the application of a little common-sense ought quickly place into it’s proper perspective. After all, if a thing is judged worthy of conservation, then frequently this will necessarily involve it’s being faithfully restored, insofar as this may be deemed possible, to it’s original pristine condition.

We are of course, by definition, here dealing with things which are used rather than new, and which are in many cases of great age. Inevitably therefore, over the course of time, many of these items will have been damaged and subsequently repaired or otherwise restored and refurbished. The important point to bear in mind is that such repair or restoration should have been executed to a high standard and in a skilled professional manner.

Few would argue, we would maintain, with the assertion that our great national collections, be they in museums or elsewhere would be significantly the poorer were they to be deprived of the services of the skilled artisans and craftsmen who maintain their treasures on a regular basis throughout the year. Some appreciation of and insight into this may be gained by studying for example the maintenance schedules followed in their properties by the National Trust and those of their peers similarly charged with the conservation of our heritage.

Conservation then, traditionally an important aspect of the Antiques Trade, should be our watchword, and it is in this context that the matter of restoration should be considered and judged.