Conservation of Leather with Rosie Bolton, Arianne Panton and Mike Redwood

Ref: M3D13593

Location: West Dean

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About this course

Leather and skin-based materials have been used across the globe for centuries and can be found in a wide range of cultural heritage objects. This course is designed both to explore the history, manufacture and chemistry of leather and to review current practice in its conservation, offering students and those working in conservation the chance to build knowledge of latest techniques. You will learn through a range of lectures, demonstrations, and practical sessions. The course will be presented by three leading practitioners working and teaching in this specialist area.

Course Description

This course will outline the history and production of skin-based materials throughout the ages exploring different ‘types’ of leather and their material properties. We will look at methods of identification including species and tannage and explore various deterioration phenomena through presentation, examination, and analytical techniques.

Principles of preventive conservation specific to leather and related materials will be presented, including health and safety concerns. This will be followed by practical sessions that are designed to provide an opportunity for conservators to test a range of techniques and materials which they may be able to utilise or adapt for future projects. Practical sessions include looking at cleaning materials and techniques, humidification, stabilisation, and the use of various adhesives and repair materials suitable for leather. Presentation of current discussions and techniques within the field, such as the use of new analytical methods and nanotechnology, will ensure students have an up-to-date understanding of the sector. 

Using a wide range of examples, the course will provide an overview and basis for understanding leather conservation and developing an appropriate methodology for solving conservation problems, including interventive techniques and materials. 


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

Although, due to time constraints, we cannot undertake a conservation project, you are invited to bring objects or details via photos/memory stick for discussion and treatment tests.

All materials required will be supplied but please bring personal conservation hand tools. International students are not required to bring any tools with them.


Rosie Bolton, Tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Rosie Bolton

After her degree in Fine Art, Rosie completed a Graduate Diploma in Conservation of Book and Library materials at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. She has been a full-time member of the LCC Team since 2016 and is the Studio Manager.

Arianne Panton

Arianne gained an MA in Principles of Conservation from University College London (UCL) and an MSc in Conservation Studies from UCL Qatar. She undertook internships at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver and the Ethnologisches Museum in Berlin specialising in organic materials. Following this Arianne held several positions in the Gulf including at the National Museum of Qatar. She has been a full-time member of the LCC since the beginning of 2020.

Mike Redwood leather tutor at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

Mike Redwood

Mike had a long career managing tanneries around the world and was for many years a Visiting Professor at the University of Northampton in its world-leading Institute for Creative Leather Technologies.  He is also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glovers, a Freeman of the Leathersellers’ Company and a Trustee of The Leather Conservation Centre.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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