Peter David ACR
After attending West Dean College, I became a freelance Conservator in 1982 and have been a Limited Company since 2000.
In 2000 I achieved Accredited Conservator Restorer status. During the last 30+ years I have undertaken numerous commissions for the antiques trade, private individuals, private and public sector bodies of varying sizes and in a range of locations. These commissions have included conservation, restoration, condition survey/care audits, documentation and curatorial services.
I have also used my extensive knowledge to provide advice and guidance to a number of organisations in respect of funding applications and purchase decisions.
While the majority of my work is to ceramics and glass, I also have experience of assessing and working on materials such as: enamels, lacquer wares, bone, ivory, marble, alabaster, paintings on glass & cold painted bronzes.
I place great value on the development of others and since 1986 have been involved in the ceramics modules on the BSc & MSc courses in Archaeological Conservation in what is now known as Cardiff Metropolitan Universty, giving lectures and demonstrations, and being involved in discussions/forums with students and lecturing staff.
Over the years I have been, and continue to be, a mentor to a number of students and qualified conservators, helping them enables me to pass my knowledge and experience on. Communication of conservation is also key, as is interaction with others.
I have regularly attended and given talks at the “Conservation Matters in Wales”, and “Ceramic and Glass Conservation Group” forums.
I have also spoken to groups such as Probus, U3A, and various “Friends” groups about my work which affords me an opportunity to raise the profile of conservation and explain the ethical considerations, and thought processes involved, to the wider public.
As part of my work I have worked with a number of contemporary artists, advising them on choice of materials, helping them to create and, in some cases, conserve their works of art.
I have known Peter for many years, in that time he has proved himself to be a dedicated, conscientious and able ceramics conservation practitioner; undertaking commissions from National, International, and provincial museums, as well as trade and private clients. His commissions having ranged from bench work, to condition surveys and care audits, documentation and curatorial services, drawing on his extensive knowledge of ceramics materials, techniques and history to do so. I never tire of hearing from Peter about his bench work as it demonstrates the pinnacle of technical, aesthetic and tactile skills of a conservator to bring results which delight his clients and anyone else lucky enough to have an insight into his daily work. Active in the Inorganics modules on the BSc & MSc courses in Conservation Practice at Cardiff University and I believe the ceramics classes at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Peter gives lectures, demonstrations, and partakes in discussions/forums with students and lecturing staff. We can always immediately detect the impact of his work in the practice and reflective observation of our students. The tiny negative side to his visits is that it raises everyone’s standards and makes our own work seem that little bit less perfect in comparison. Nonetheless that positive drive for quality is reinforced through his visits to all of our advantage. Over the years Peter has continued to be a mentor to a number of students and qualified conservators, with whom he is happy to share his knowledge and experience. He has on occasions supported students on post-graduation internships, a generous contribution of his time which has in the past set up a recent graduate on a career trajectory that has continued into a successful career. He is a regular contributor to the “Conservation Matters in Wales” forums, and ICON’S Ceramic and Glass Group meetings and as such has always made time to contribute to the development of the profession, safe working practices, peer development and wider engagement activities.
Jane HendersonProfessor of Conservation Director of Teaching & Learning Secretary General International Institute for Conservation School of History, Archaeology and Religion, Cardiff
Peter David has been intrinsic in the conservation and redisplay of the Llanelli Pottery Collection at Parc Howard. At the conception of the project he carried out an in-depth condition report of over 400 items noting amongst other things, their condition, dimension, values, recommended treatment and treatment time. This allowed me to prioritise the objects to receive conservation work by considering their need and balancing this against a set budget. Peter carried out the work to time, budget and a high level of skill. He kept me informed of the progress so that any options could be discussed and took accurate and detailed records of the work he carried out. Peter also made recommendations of the redisplay of the gallery including environmental conditions and security. His knowledge of ceramics has also been invaluable to the Project team providing insights into the history of Llanelli Pottery which has fed into the interpretation.
Joanna CookConservation Officer, Department for Communities, Carmarthenshire County Council
Peter David has regularly performed conservation and restoration work on Aberystwyth University's Ceramic Collection over the years. The work is always restored to a very high standard and he is particularly intuitive and sensitive when dealing with studio ceramics.
Louise ChennelCurator and Archivist, Aberystwyth Arts Centre
In my career as an art gallery curator, I worked for many years with Peter David’s practice and found his approach and contribution inspirational.
What Peter brought to our museum collection of ceramics and applied art objects was years of experience within the conservation profession.
Firstly, in terms of Peter’s personal qualities, he loves the objects with which he works, and enjoys sharing his knowledge, built up from over thirty years’ as a conservator. He is the ultimate professional, skillful, totally dependable, ethical, trustworthy and whilst he inspires confidence, he is very modest about his skills and is a delight to work with.
In terms of professional skills, Peter works with a range of applied arts, but is most widely known for his expertise in conserving ceramics of all kinds, across a range of cultures and historical periods, from Ancient Greek or Chinese porcelain through to eighteenth century English, Welsh or Continental ceramics, right up to the present day. In my experience, his dexterity and skills are of the highest order; he is also incredibly practical and always willing to help. Whether the treatment is straightforward or complex, Peter knows how to respond, and always sees the bigger picture, resolving any difficulties with good forward planning, whether in the short or long term.
In managing a project, Peter is highly diligent in following professional procedures, discussing treatments in advance in close consultation with his client, maintaining detailed written and photographic records, producing surveys and treatment reports for his client and grant-funding organizations. Peter’s estimates are accurate, and his work is completed on time and on budget, making him very reliable.
Finally, beyond his professional conservation skills, Peter has an incredible depth of specialist and curatorial knowledge about the history of ceramics and applied arts, gained from years of experience and understanding how objects are made and their historical context. He has visited major public collections worldwide and with his knowledge of museum standards, Peter is able to offer invaluable support, both technical and curatorial, for presenting displays of ceramics and applied art objects. The breadth of his knowledge and his love of the objects mean that he is able to advise on the bigger picture for heritage collections – whether it may be the logistics of transport requirements or improving storage environments, carrying out surveys and conservation treatments for the care of objects, contributing to seminars or supporting displays across a range of disciplines.
In my professional experience, Peter’s sustained practice over many years, working with both public and private collections, demonstrates the quality of his approach and his professionalism, and why Peter is an award-winning conservator.
Jenni Spencer-DaviesRetired Museum Curator
Peter has done a great deal of work for me over the course of many years on ceramics ranging from the 13th to the 20th c. The quality of his work is quite superb. In everything that he has worked on pleasure has been restored!