Graeme Gardiner ACR
About MeI studied Paper Conservation for four years at Camberwell College during the 1980’s, when it was a well respected Diploma and Higher Diploma. In 1990 I set up my first studio in the premises of The Royal Asiatic Society in London, where I spent six years conserving their works of art on paper, archives, rare books and manuscript collections - an experience that provided me with insight into the particular problems associated with large and diverse private collections. As other academic institutions and learned societies heard of my work, they began to approach me with their own projects, and so it was that I founded Preservation Solutions in order to promote the benefits of an holistic approach to conservation and preservation. Three decades on, and the majority of my studio work still focuses on supporting small and medium size private and institutional collections of books, archives and art of paper. My purpose-built studio is designed for three conservators and contains over 100 square feet of bench space, including a large dedicated wet area. The studio also contains facilities for picture mounting and we have a close working relationship with an expert picture framer. Whilst we conserve and restore books and manuscripts in the studio, all binding work is undertaken in another local workshop by a binder with over 50 years experience.
Btec Diploma in paper conservation and book restoration at Camberwell School of Art, London
Btec Higher Diploma in paper conservation at Camberwell School of Art, London
I am part of the conservation team responsible for the ongoing care, conservation and preservation of all loaned and exhibited paper based material at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. This involves condition checking and ongoing care for all works that are installed in exhibitions, and then during and after exhibitions when they are deinstalled and packed for shipping. Working alongside the RA, we have been responsible for some of the world’s most iconic paintings, prints and drawings.
Since 2001 I have worked alongside the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden, Essex. During that time I have conserved, mounted and framed over 200 watercolours, drawings, prints and albums from their collections, the majority of which date from the 1930s-1950s. Many of the items are large and have complex requirements. I also advise them on new acquisitions, preservation policies, exhibitions and display and disaster management, and help with fund raising and project development and management.
Since 2011 I have worked on the conservation and preservation of the archives of John Swire and Sons Ltd. This has involved the planning, costing and implementation of a large scale and long-term programme of treatments, with the aim to clean, conserve as required and rehouse the entire business archive, dating from the 1840s to the modern day. Most of the work focuses on paper-based correspondence, but also includes work on maps and plans, drawings, paintings and photographs.
In 2001 I carried out a conservation survey of all paper-based materials belonging to the Library, Archive and Museum of Freemasonry in London. This resulted in an ongoing treatment programme concentrating on the cleaning, repair and rehousing of their extensive holdings, including archives dating from the eighteenth century onwards, manuscripts, bound volumes and works of art. We also help to mount and frame works for display and exhibitions.
In 2012 Wimpole Hall, a National Trust property, suffered a severe flood adjacent to its historic library, resulting in water damage to many hundreds of volumes. My company won the contract to treat the affected books, using an insitu cleaning method that removed or reduced the staining without the need to first disbind first. I employed a team of new graduates, turning one of the main reception rooms into a studio in front of visitors, thereby increasing public understanding and engagement.