The works of art in the Wallace Collection are cared for by an in-house Conservation Department comprising three full-time professional conservators and a conservation craftsman, operating from workshops on the third (top) floor of Hertford House.
This conservation team is part of the Collections Department and works closely with the Collection’s curators. Furniture and woodwork are directly treated in-house, as is metalwork, encompassing arms, armour and some sculpture and works of art.
Paintings, ceramics, glass, leather and textiles are conserved by external specialists, engaged as the need arises, the Conservation Department maintaining a watching brief in these areas. The Wallace Collection’s Conservation Advisory Committee assists in assessing and advising on conservation within the Collection. The Committee, composed of internationally recognized experts from the UK and abroad covering all the main areas of the Collection, meets formally every two years but in between the relevant members also advise on a case-by-case basis.
The Conservation Department is also responsible for checking and monitoring environmental conditions within the building, formulating and organising disaster planning for works of art, record-keeping, researching and lecturing on conservation matters (both within the Collection and externally), mounting and demounting exhibitions, organising and overseeing the moving of works of art in the galleries, and in general seeking to develop the Wallace Collection’s reputation as a centre of excellence for conservation expertise and scholarship.
A key part of the role of all members of the Conservation Department lies in developing contacts with fellow conservators in other institutions, especially those with comparable collections to those in the Wallace Collection. These include major national museums, regional partner museums within the Museum Network, and key overseas collections.