Latest news from Lewis Proudfoot

11th October 2020

Update from Lewis Proudfoot: Image (kindly supplied by Chester Cathedral): ‘Chester Cathedral’s Erasmus Chapel Wall Mosaic’, a Regional Finalist in the 2021 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Awards.

2020 which, as our 30th Anniversary I had hoped to be one of renewal and change, has turned out to be something completely different – much of it spent in suspended animation while the world around us paused. The silent days in the deserted woods on the Cliveden estate were strangely peaceful. And yet, despite the trauma and truly terrible outlook for much of the world and so many of our colleagues throughout the heritage industry, for me this year has been one of optimism and positivity.

Lockdown came like a strange fog rolling in, plunging us all into muffled statis, yet the team were incredible, and we dealt with the challenges superbly. My huge thanks and admiration to everyone who took on the reduction in hours, pay and freedom without complaint or protest, those who stepped up and across, or who sadly had to step down – we weathered the storm and have some great projects to be looking forward to over the coming months.

Months which will not be without their challenges – the business is at a turning point – the loss of Dad, and a Covid-narrowed focus on survival are all tempered by the fantastic but intense Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses course I am currently taking. A more strategic, collaborative approach to business is on its way, but not before our second child, imminently due.

And I am not the only expectant parent; as we welcome Kate Haven as my assistant and Cat Williams as our Dec Arts project and admin assistant, as maternity covers for Laura and Sarah. So, this is an exciting time for us, as we look to take the Cliveden family into the next generation. And what better way to look forward to a future of quality work by our wonderful team than to be able to point to some great projects of ours that showcase what we do well.

We are delighted to announce that our project ‘Chester Cathedral’s Erasmus Chapel Wall Mosaic’ is a Regional Finalist in the 2021 Civic Trust AABC Conservation Awards. In addition to this recent award success, the latest Journal of the Institute of Conservation has published our paper ‘Research on the selection of biocides for the ‘disinfection’ of statues and masonry at the National Trust (UK).’ This valuable paper is a culmination of years of research by our conservators Kris Zykubek , Douglas Carpenter, the late Trevor Proudfoot , Katy Lithgow (formally of the NT) and a great resource especially at this time of year, when you might be considering a winter cover.

Andrea Walker’s article on our large-scale mosaic restoration work at Stanford Hall is featured in ICON News and Polly Westlake’s write up of our hugely impressive work at St Mary Magdalene in Paddington is accompanied by some wonderful images in Historic Churches. Earlier in the year, Alexandra Miller had her article on Gold, discussing gold paint and gilding featured in The Building Conservation Directory. René Rice had his summary of our work to conserve an historic plaster ceiling in CHB journal and most recently Ben Newman partnered with Willesden Jewish Cemetery for the Open House Festival 2020 to deliver a special online webinar about the conservation of six incredibly rare monuments. A write up of this fascinating project is also due to appear in London Landscapes Magazine.

Finally, Tom Flemons, Advisor to the NT on Stone and Plaster, Manager of the Bath Workshop and all-round top man had his chapter on the repair and conservation of stone door surrounds published in Doors: History, Repair and Conservation.

A hugely impressive roll call of talented and informed conservators, who would love to discuss their areas of expertise in more detail: so do please contact us for more information on CPD and presentations of these topics and more.

Finally, this might be the last year we send out a printed Christmas card; a tradition we have upheld for almost 30 years. This year, to mark our 30th Anniversary we have created a collage of some of the best moments – from prints and paintings to photos of some of our great projects. Looking back through the years, I am reminded what a rich history this company has, of longstanding relationships with some wonderful people. So, I will save the Christmas wishes for our Christmas card, and merely wish you a pleasant lockdown mark 2. If you would like to be added to our Christmas list, please do get in touch.