A university is offering students a chance to ‘earn while they learn’ by Restoring Victorian mahogany pedestal desks and antique bookcases at its own furniture conservation company.
Through its National School of Furniture (NSF) department, Buckinghamshire New University is able to offer MA and BA courses in Furniture Conservation, Restoration and Decorative Arts. Recent graduates now have the chance to gain valuable industry experience and earn a salary by working for Bucks Conservation – a restoration company set up within the campus itself.
Based in High Wycombe, the Department of Furniture has been running a commercial programme for more than 20 years, restoring Victorian balloon back dining chairs and other antiques for the National Trust, Royal Collection and other major clients. Recent restoration projects include a Georgian console table for the Earl of Pembroke and the frame of a Sir Joshua Reynolds painting for the Courtauld Institute of Art. Clients have also furnished the university with antique marquetry furniture and locations for ‘live’ conservation work.
Bucks Conservation is a natural progression of this, offering university alumni the chance to make a smooth transition from education to paid employment, while improving their skills.
Course leader Dr. Campbell Norman-Smith said:
“The launch of Bucks Conservation is a unique opportunity to support our most talented graduates and extend our expertise to a wider client base.”
The antique balloon back dining chair in a Preston antique dealer’s window may well have been made by a Victorian apprentice. Students have long been part of the furniture industry.
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