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For registration information, visit our event page

Unexpected fame: Conservation approaches to the preparatory object

2nd Icon Book & Paper Group Conference
Oxford, 1–3 October 2018

The Icon Book & Paper Group is delighted to announce that booking for our 2018 conference will open on 15 May, via Eventbrite. The two-day international conference in the historic city of Oxford also includes an optional evening reception at the fascinating Pitt Rivers Museum, and is followed by an additional day of tours to local heritage institutions.

This conference aims to explore the conservator’s approach to treating objects such as artists’ sketchbooks or authors’ manuscripts: paper-based items which were not necessarily created with posterity in mind. Their creators may not have anticipated a lifespan encompassing display, digitisation or heavy consultation. Indeed in some instances the producers of these objects may not have expected this part of their oeuvre to survive beyond its first use. Do we therefore treat them differently to ‘finished’ works, which were always expected to have a wider audience and longer lifespan? How – and how far - do we preserve the evidence of working techniques and practices left by the author, artist, printer, publisher, or architect? Does their original function affect how we conserve, display and interpret these objects? If a maker has deliberately tried to obscure previous versions of a work, where does the remit of the conservator or researcher end when it comes to uncovering erasures or amendments? Do we alter the legacy of such objects with our interventions?

Guest Speakers

Prof. Margaret Holben Ellis

Eugene Thaw Professor of Paper Conservation, NYU Institute of Fine Arts

Dr. Fenella France

Chief, Preservation Research and Testing Division, Library of Congress

Prof. Dr. Irene Brückle

Professor and Director of Conservation of Works of Art on Paper, Archives & Library Materials, Stuttgart State Academy of Art and Design

Dr. Chris Fletcher

Head of Special Collections, Bodleian Libraries


Click here for a digital version of the full programme. Paper copies will be available at the conference. 


To register, visit our event page here.
Direct link to eventbrite here.

Information on location, accommodation and booking tours can be found at the bottom of the page

Google maps link


The Call for Papers and Posters has now closed. 

The Photo Competition has now closed.