1st Edition

Conservation of Furniture

By Shayne Rivers, Nick Umney Copyright 2003

    This book is a comprehensive resource covering the principles and practice of the conservation and restoration of furniture. A review of the historical development of furniture introduces a wide range of structural types and materials that may be encountered, including wood, ivory, turtleshell, horn and metals, as well as decorative surfaces such as paint, japanning, lacquer and gilding. The nature and behaviour of these materials is explained and used as a basis from which to explore the mechanisms and consequences of deterioration caused by environment and use. Building on this foundation, the book shows how to develop and implement logical solutions to conservation problems.

    Combining the practical knowledge and experience of a team of conservators active in the field, with theoretical and reference material from diverse sources, Conservation of Furniture uses and integrated approach to produce a book that will prove invaluable to anyone working in or studying this subject area.

    Preface; Furniture history; Wood and wooden structures; Upholstery materials and structures; Plastics and polymers, coatings and binding media, adhesives and consolidants; Other materials and structures; General review of environment and deterioration; Deterioration of wood and wooden structures; Deterioration of other materials and structures; Conservation preliminaries; Principles of conserving and repairing wooden furniture; Principles of cleaning; Principles of consolidation, aesthetic reintegration and coatings; Conserving transparent coatings on wood; Introduction to traditional gilding; Conserving other materials I; Conserving Other Materials II; Index


    Shayne Rivers trained in traditional cabinetmaking and finishing, followed by a further four years training in furniture restoration. In 1998, she graduated from the Victoria & Albert Museum/Royal College of Art joint Conservation programme with an M.A. in Furniture Conservation, having specialised in the conservation of painted, japanned and lacquered surfaces. Soon after graduating, she was appointed to her present position as a Senior Furniture Conservator at the V&A.

    Nick Umney retrained as a furniture conservator after several years working in the biological sciences and part time furniture making. He spent ten years working as a Senior Furniture Conservator at the Victoria & Albert Museum, before moving into a management role as Assistant Head of Department. He was Museum Project Manager for the British Galleries Project at the V&A from 1997-2001 before taking on his current role as Director of the Collections Services Division.