MA Conservation Studies, specialising in Clocks and Related Objects 2010 - 2012

Brittany Cox

Clocks Conservator, Watchmaker, Jeweller, Engine Turner, and Writer

Talk us through your career path since graduating

After completing an MA in the Conservation of Clocks and Related Dynamic Objects at West Dean College in 2012, I returned to the USA. In 2013, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to handle the estate of an esteemed horologist, where I was able to barter my services for equipment. This enabled me to start my private practice in Seattle, Washington. I opened Memoria Technica, an independent conservation, education, and bespoke services studio in 2015.

What projects are you currently working on? 

My work covers a variety of objects, as I am also a certified watchmaker, jeweller, and engine turner. Currently I am working on a collection of antique mechanical gauges, singing bird clocks, boxes, and cages, carriage clocks, and other horological objects. The object on my bench at this moment is French 19th century gilt travelling officer's clock. In addition to my bench practice, I am working on a manuscript to be published by Penguin. 

Do you have any tips for recent graduates wanting to establish themselves as a conservator?

If you are aiming to be self-employed, go to business school before opening a private practice. Take continuing education courses. Take time to write and publish research. Give talks on your work and make conservation relatable to the public. 

How do you think studying at West Dean College prepared you for what you do now? 

The college fostered an appreciation and intense love of heritage craft. I am who I am today because I studied there. Matthew Read was a thorough and challenging tutor. His teaching style prepared me for the difficulties I would face as a self-employed conservator. I received an education at West Dean I could never receive elsewhere. The incredible wealth of information on craft and historic practice is unmatched.

What's your favourite memory from your time at West Dean College? 

I can't say that I have a favourite memory. I have so many special moments tucked away that I return to often, walking through warm grass on the front lawn, the boat race in the stream that runs along the college grounds, the smell of the stairwell as I passed the instrument-making studio on my way into clocks. One fond memory is of a particularly late evening in the workshop. I sat silently working across the room from my tutor, the sound of a file and saw resonating, and the lineage of time almost palpable.

Find out more about the MA Conservation Studies