Conservation alumni in top industry prize

We are delighted to announce that Orbis Conservation, a conservation company founded and run by alumni from the Art School’s renowned Conservation Department, has been nominated for this year’s Museums + Heritage Awards for Restoration/Conservation project of the year with Plymouth City Council, for their work on the figurehead collection for The Box.


Installation Defiance at The Box in Plymouth 2019

This ambitious two-year project involved the conservation, consolidation and restoration of five, large 19th century ships’ figureheads. The figureheads were installed at The Box, Plymouth, a new arts and heritage complex.


HMS Royal William during treatment (L) and during redecoration (R)

Commenting on the award nomination and the project that won them the deserved recognition, the team at Orbis said:

We are honoured and excited to have been nominated in this year’s Museums + Heritage Awards for Restoration/Conservation project of the year with Plymouth City Council for our work on the figurehead collection for The Box.

“This project consumed us for over two years, and was hugely challenging, demanding innovative problem solving. Thanks to the wide ranging scope of the project, we were given the opportunity to trial a new form of structural analysis of timber in conservation (sonic tomography), carry out copious amounts of research into the construction and decoration of ship’s figureheads, design and fabricate structural mounts, and ultimately carry out full conservation treatments to ensure the continued survival of these fascinating objects.”


HMS Topaze during consolidation treatment (L) and during post treatment redecoration (R)

Read more about the Figurehead project here.

Orbis Conservation was founded in 2013 by Art School alumni, Max Malden (BA (Hons) Conservation 2012) and Hans Thompson (BA (Hons) Conservation 2013). They were joined by Kirsty Walsh (BA (Hons) Conservation 2015), who is currently studying part-time on our MA Conservation.

The virtual awards ceremony will take place on 22 September 2020 and we wish, Max, Hans and Kirsty every success!



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