The Plowden Medal 2019

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Caroline Bendix receiving her award. Images courtesy of the Royal Warrant Holders association.

The Royal Warrant Holders Association announces the winner of the Plowden Medal 2019—Caroline Bendix—for her outstanding contribution to in-situ book conservation.

Caroline Bendix has been awarded the Plowden Medal 2019 for being the lynchpin of conserving historic books, in both private and public libraries, for more than a quarter of a century. By pioneering methods of caring for book collections in situ, particularly for the National Trust, Caroline has made a major contribution to their state of conservation, while also enhancing the buildings which house them.

Caroline’s work has often exemplified the pragmatic conservation principle of doing as much as is practicable by the most efficient means available, to the highest possible standard. Her skills, as an inspirational trainer and in advocacy, mean that she has cascaded her expertise and skills through many others—both staff and volunteers. She has demonstrated how conservators can achieve great results by working with others, and the impact she has had stretches far beyond her own conservation work.

With an ability to be both rigorous and entertaining, Caroline has brought extensive experience, energy and humour, as well as high-quality conservation, to the wide range of book teams she has supported and the clients she has served.

Caroline has given practical and effective help to a multitude of libraries, both in the UK and abroad, in a remarkable, professional, efficient and creative manner with enthusiasm and energy. She has made a significant change to the way conservation is delivered in the historic built environment and extended the life of thousands of rare and important books, protecting their heritage for future generations.

Caroline says, “Receiving The Plowden Medal has been an overwhelming honour and delight. Although I have re-ceived much support during my career, not least from Dr. Nicholas Pickwoad and the National Trust, as a freelance conservator one treads a slightly solitary path; to be honoured by the Royal Warrant Holders’ Association and my professional peers is a wonderful acknowledgement of all that I have done over the years. I am immensely proud to be the 2019 recipient of Britain’s most prestigious award for conservation.”

The Royal Warrant Holders Association was formed in 1840. There are around 760 Royal Warrant holders, ranging from individual craftspeople to global multi-nationals, united by a commitment to the highest standards of service, quality and excellence. Together they make a major contribution to Britain’s cultural heritage. The RWHA awards the Plowden Medal annually to recognise the person who has made the most significant recent contribution to the advancement of conservation. Inaugurated in 1999, the Plowden Medal commemorates the Hon. Anna Plowden CBE, a leading conservator and Grantee of Plowden & Smith, who was President-elect of the RWHA at the time of her death in 1997.

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Caroline Bendix has been awarded the Plowden Medal 2019 for being the lynchpin of conserving historic books, in both private and public libraries, for more than a quarter of a century. By pioneering methods of caring for book collections in situ, particularly for the National Trust, Caroline has made a major contribution to their state of conservation, while also enhancing the buildings which house them.
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