News

Worldwide National Trusts urge climate action

The International Conference of National Trusts, which met this week in Dublin, has urged governments to tackle climate change. Delegates from 57 non-governmental heritage organisations have issued a joint declaration calling on governments to agree to challenging emissions reduction targets ahead of December's Copenhagen UN meeting.

Conservation in the news - porcupine quills and cactus spines

The BBC has featured in its daily news coverage (on 18th September 2009)the conservation and preparation for display of the Vale of York Hoard, a significant quantity of Viking silver, at the British Museum. Unearthed in Yorkshire in 2007, the hoard has been conserved at the British Museum and has now gone on display there. The article gives a good description of the conservation techniques involved in the project and also carries a number of interesting links to other related news stories and institutions.

Cleaning leads to Velázquez re-attribution at NY Met

The New York Times has reported the re-attribution of one of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's painting's to Velázquez following cleaning. The Museum's "Portrait of a Man" was previously considered a product of the artist's workshop rather than an autograph piece. However, cleaning has removed aged yellow varnish and unsympathetic retouching to reveal subtleties considered the mark of Velázquez's own hand. Leading experts on the artist have proposed that the painting once again be considered the work of the master himself.

US Warhol collection stolen

The theft of more than ten paintings by iconic US artist Andy Warhol has been reported. The works of art, belonging to a US private collector, are thought to have been taken in early September and were specifically targeted in the crime.

A reward of $1 million has been offered for information leading to the recovery of the works of art.To see more about the theft, go to the BBC website

Costa Rica National Library flooded

The basement of the National Library of Costa Rica has been flooded following torrential rains. Although the collections have not been directly water-damaged, high humidity is said to have affected some books dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

The basement is also home to a store room of the Costa Rican Museum of Art housing more than 6300 works of art but fortunately the water has not penetrated this part of the building.

Fragment of Codex Sinaiticus discovered

The Art Newspaper has reported the discovery of a previously unknown fragment of the world's oldest Bible. A scrap of the Codex Sinaiticus has been found by Nikolas Sarris, a conservator currently undertaking his doctorate at Camberwell College, part of the University of the Arts in London.

Written in Greek, the 1600 year old Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in 1844 at St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Egypt. It was shortly afterwards split between institutions in Egypt, Russia, Germany and Britain.

Challenge to restore oldest working computer

The Harwell/WITCH computer, the world's oldest complete computer, is to undergo a year long restoration to regain working order. The computer was moved to the UK's National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) last week, its framework has now been reassembled and it has already been seen by hundreds of visitors to the Museum at Bletchley Park.

Reducing carbon footprints in UK Museums

    The UK's National Museum Directors' Conference (NMDC) represents the leaders of the UK's national collections and major regional museums. Their members have announced new guidelines for environmental conditions in museums in a move towards a more carbon-friendly approach to collections care. Developed in consultation with the National Trust, ICON and UK conservators, the guidelines seek to review policy and practice, especially as regards loans, storage, display conditions, building design and air conditioning systems.

New Interpol website details stolen art

Interpol, the international police organisation has announced the launch of a new website featuring a database of stolen artwork worldwide. Police forces will have access to the website-other users will have to apply for access to the resource which contains details about more than 34000 stolen works.

Lost Wyeth revealed by synchrotron

The Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) has been utilised to reveal a hidden painting by N. C. Wyeth in colour for the first time.

It was twelve years ago that the 1923 painting ‘Family Portrait’ was found to have a second work lying beneath: a scene from a 1919 Everybody's Magazine article called ‘The Mildest Mannered Man’. CHESS scientists teamed up with conservators and Jessica L. Mass, senior scientist at Delaware's Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, to examine Wyeth's ‘Family Portrait’ using confocal X-ray fluorescence.

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