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11.05.2016

Plowden Medal 2016: Ksynia Marko ACR honoured for outstanding contribution to Britain’s cultural heritage

Prestigious award honours Icon Member for exemplary work in textiles conservation

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The Royal Warrant Holders Association (RWHA) has announced that the Plowden Medal 2016 will be presented to Ksynia Marko ACR to honour her outstanding work in conserving and restoring many of the UK's most important tapestries, carpets and other textiles over the last 40 years. The gold medal is awarded annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to conservation.

Ksynia, pictured here with a tapestry in Montacute House, studied Art & Design/Textiles-Embroidery at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London. In 1975, whilst working in the Textile Conservation Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Ksynia was awarded a Churchill Travelling Scholarship to study tapestry restoration and conservation techniques in Europe, which influenced her subsequent work.

Ksynia ran her own freelance practice in London for 11 years and has been working for the National Trust since 1991. In 1995 she became the Trust’s Textile Conservation Adviser and organised the conference and subsequent publication 'Textiles in Trust’ as part of the Trust’s centenary celebrations. She has lectured and published widely on aspects of conservation and, with the team of conservators at the Trusts Textile Conservation Studio based in Norfolk, is involved with the treatment, care and maintenance of a wide range of historic furnishings including important carpets and tapestries.

Ksynia says: "I have been extremely lucky to have worked with so many talented people working on important and beautiful textiles. Our work is not only conserving the visible object, but also the memories it holds, testament to all the people involved in its inception and manufacture, from the suppliers of materials to the makers, merchants and patrons. Textiles often tell a wonderful story and provide a fascinating insight into social history. When saving a 400 year old tapestry or a wonderful but fragile carpet, you have to be resourceful and sometimes quite brave. Much of our work is problem solving, weighing up options and applying treatment that relies on good research and technical skill. I feel very honoured to receive the Plowden Medal for helping to preserve our textile heritage."

"When saving a 400 year old tapestry or a wonderful but fragile carpet, you have to be resourceful and sometimes quite brave"

Richard Peck, Secretary of the RWHA, says: "The Plowden Medal, inaugurated in 1999, commemorates the work of the Hon. Anna Plowden CBE, who was both a visionary conservator and a Royal Warrant Holder. The RWHA represents around 800 Royal Warrant holders who are united by a commitment to the highest standards of quality, service and excellence and, over the years, they have collectively contributed a great amount to our national cultural heritage. Conservation is essential in protecting that heritage, which is why the RWHA is delighted to award the Plowden Medal each year. Through her work over four decades, Ksynia has not only ensured that many of this country’s most important textiles can be enjoyed for generations to come but she has also helped to train dozens of people, many of whom are now acknowledged experts in the art of textile conservation themselves."

Icon CEO Alison Richmond congratulates Kysnia on her well-deserved honour: "Ksynia has made an outstanding contribution to the field of conservation in so many ways. She has an extraordinarily deep understanding and extensive experience of historic textiles and their preservation. But she doesn’t stop there. Throughout her career she has shared her knowledge through publications, teaching and training, and has dedicated herself to mentoring next-generation conservators. There are countless conservators in the UK and around the world who have benefited from working with her."

Learn more about Ksynia's work

Lead image: © National Trust

Inline image: Ksynia Marko pictured with a tapestry in Montacute House depicting a Knight on horseback with the arms of Jean de Daillon, Guillaume Desremaulx, woven in Tournai, circa 1477-81 – one of the earliest tapestries in the National Trust Collection, © National Trust/Paul Highnam

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