Press Release: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation welcomes unusual visitor!

Last week students at West Dean College of Arts & Conservation had an unusual visitor in the Auditorium – a 1928 Austin 7 car. Car conservator Jules Parker of Julian Parker Ltd of East Sussex came to talk to students studying Furniture, Clocks and Metalwork about his recent project conserving the car that will be celebrating its 100th birthday in eight years time!     

Jules, who trained to be a Coachbuilder and started conserving cars in the late 1980s, discussed with the students whether you can conserve cars. Although the car industry is split about the notion, Jules does feel that attitudes are starting to change. He is a firm believer that an object can remain in its original condition whether it be a car or a bronze age axe! “It is a great voyage of discovery, the more you love an object, the more you embed your love into it,” he said.

He continued by saying: “Ultimately, I believe that to conserve is to preserve in its actual form. By protecting an artefact we capture the living blueprint of human beings most creative minds. A sense of reverence is embedded within the object that surpasses it`s practical value. It becomes a vessel of truth for our children.”

Norbert Gutowski, Subject Leader in Furniture, introduces his students to many unusual and rare objects. He comments “It was fascinating to see Jules’ car where elements, which were thought of as non - critical for road worthiness and safety, have been conserved. Only 0.75% of fabric bodied Austin 7’s are being conserved compared to the survival rate of the likes of Rolls Royce’s which is in the region of 96% - making this particular car incredibly rare, if not unique.”

Clients are coming to Jules and his team from all over the world and over the years he has worked on vintage cars by the great makers such as Bugatti and Bentley.

The West Dean students are studying conservation or craft-based programmes, from Foundation degree to Masters, and often collaborate across disciplines on live projects. The College has an international reputation and is a full partner of the University of Sussex. To find out more about courses at the College and how the departments work together, prospective students are encouraged to register for an Open Day. The next open day takes place on Friday, December 6, 2019 followed by one on Saturday, February 8, 2020. 

Notes to editors

  • West Dean College of Arts and Conservation was founded in 1971 by the poet and Surrealist patron, Edward James, recognised by BBC Arts as the ‘the greatest patron of art of the early 20th century’.
  • The College is part of The Edward James Foundation (Charity No. 1126084), also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and West Dean Tapestry Studio.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • More details on Julian Parker Ltd can be found at

For all media enquiries please contact Rachel Aked
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 07790 732448

West Dean College of Arts and Conservation, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ