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Subject: History of science in conservation

History of science in conservation

From: Mitchell Bishop <mbishop>
Date: Thursday, February 16, 1995
Regarding Alan Howell's query, surprisingly little has been published on
this subject.  One person who has written a series of publications is
Mark Gilberg.  His articles are cited in AATA and in the bibliographic
component of the Conservation Information Network. They cover some of
the early figures in conservation science such as Friedrich Rathgen,
Douglas Leechman and a forthcoming publication on Alfred Lucas.

Roger Marijnissen's book Degradation Conservation Restauration de
L'oeuvre d'art, published in 1967 contains an excellent discussion of
the history of conservation in French in its introductory chapters.  A
number of other authors have discussed aspects of the history of
conservation.  Among these are conservators and scientists such as
Norman Brommelle, Sheldon and Carolyn Keck, and  Joyce Hill Stoner. Art
Historians such as  Kathleen Weil Garris Brandt, Kirby Talley, Charles
Rhynne and Elizabeth Darrow have also written on the subject. However, I
am not aware of an in depth discussion of the history of science in
conservation.  A publication of this nature is sadly lacking.

One exception can  be found in a publication by the British Museum,
Early advances in conservation edited by Vincent Daniels and published
in 1988.  This was part of an occasional paper series produced by the
British Museum and contains a number of articles dealing with early
conservation treatments.

A number of people are working to address the lack of published self
examination found in the conservation field but a great deal remains to
be done. This problem has been discussed publicly at AIC meetings so it
is something thoughtful people are generally aware of.

In the area of the conservation of monuments and architecture a great
deal has been written in Europe, particularly in Italian that discusses
some of the history and philosophy of conservation.  Up to now almost
none of this has been translated into English and awareness of this
literature is very low in the English speaking world.

Mitchell Hearns Bishop

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:65
                 Distributed: Sunday, February 19, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-65-001
                                  ***
Received on Thursday, 16 February, 1995

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