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Finding out about your work of art: A bibliography of sources in the Clark library: Preservation and conservation

General works on preservation and conservation

The books listed here offer information on the conservation and preservation of a wide variety of objects, from art objects to historical objects to collectibles and heirlooms.  Click the dropdown menus under the Conservation and Preservation tab for books on the conservation and preservation of paintings and works on paper.

Fall, Frieda Kay.  Art Objects: Their Care and Preservation, a Handbook for Museums and Collectors.  La Jolla, CA:  Laurence McGilvery, 1973.

Includes chapters on paintings on canvas and wood panel, watercolors, pastels, prints and drawings, sculpture, ceramics, oriental scroll and screen paintings, metal objects, enameled objects, ivory objects, glass objects, textiles and costumes, tapestries and rugs, furniture, jewelry, and books.  Each chapter concludes with a bibliography.

Stacks  N9205 F34 1973


Guldbeck, Per E.  The Care of Historical Collections:  A Conservation Handbook for the Nonspecialist.  Nashville, TN:  American Association for State and Local History, 1972.

Sections on fire protection, environmental problems and symptoms, packing for shipment, documentation of an artifact, and “first aid” measures for paper, wood, leather, various metals, textiles, ceramics, glass, bone and ivory, and stone.

Stacks  N9205 G84 1976


Heritage Preservation.  Caring for Your Family Treasures: A Concise Guide to Caring for your Cherished Belongings.  New York:  Harry N. Abrams, 2000.

A concise guide to caring for objects of value, including objects on paper, photographs and albums, home movies, paintings, fabrics, clocks and watches, furniture, ceramics and glass, silver, musical instruments, military mementos, and toys.  Also has information on security and insurance, finding professional help, and finding books and other resources for further information.

Stacks  NK1125 L66


Hutchins, Jane K., and Barbara O. Roberts, editors.  First Aid for Art:  Essential Salvage Techniques.  Lenox, MA:  Hard Press Editions, 2006.

Practical advice for nonspecialists needing to “improve or stabilize the condition of artworks and artifacts that might otherwise be lost from catastrophic damage”  due to emergency or disaster.  Chapters are organized by type of material, including books, botany specimens, electronic media, furniture, paintings, peleontology specimens, paper and parchment, photographs, sculpture and art objects, skulls and skeletons, study skins, and textiles.  Each chapter includes an introduction to the properties of the material, a section on types of damage that are likely to occur and how to identify them, lists of supplies and resources, and how to stabilize the material until professional help is available.

Stacks  N9205 H883


Kelly, Francis.  Art Restoration:  A Guide to the Care and Preservation of Works of Art.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, 1972.

Answers questions about restoration asked by artists, collectors, dealers, curators, and gallery owners.  Includes sections on the care of paintings and prints, the responsibilities of the restorer, painting structure and supports, the care and composition of paper, painting media and techniques, examining a painting, and the repair and cleaning of paintings.  Includes a bibliography.

Stacks  N9205 K44


National Committee to Save America’s Cultural Collections.  Caring for Your Collections.  New York:  Harry N. Abrams, 1992.

A guide for private collectors on the dangers that can face a collection and how the dangers can be avoided.  Chapters on creating and maintaining the right environment, and on the care of paintings, works on paper, photographs, furniture, textiles, decorative arts, metal objects, stone objects, musical instruments, and ethnographic objects; also on authenticating collections, appraising and insuring collections, and obtaining professional conservation services.

Stacks  N9205 C37


Shelley, Marjorie.  The Care and Handling of Art Objects:  Practices in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  New York:  Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987.

A practical guide to the care and handling of a museum collection; includes guidelines useful for private collectors as well.  Chapters on three-dimensional objects, musical instruments, paintings, works on paper and books, Eastern works on silk and paper, textiles and costumes.  Also on lighting, humidity and temperature, photography, environment, and the deterioration of art objects.

Stacks  N9205 S44


Williams, Don, and Louisa Jagger.  Saving Stuff:  How to Care for and Preserve your Collectibles, Heirlooms, and Other Prized Possessions.  New York:  Simon and Schuster, 2005.

Explains in nontechnical language how to preserve photographs, family artifacts, furniture, family heirlooms sports and political memorabilia, “attic leftovers”  (scrapbooks, military uniforms, etc.), musical instruments, fine art, printed matter such as comic books and letters, and much more. 

Stacks  NK1125 W55


Williamstown Regional Art Conservation Laboratory.  Conservation Bibliography.  Unpublished manuscript, 1982.

A lengthy classified “working bibliography on conservation….[created to] satisfy some of the many inquiries that the Laboratory receives.”  Part 1:  Museology.  Part 2: General (includes sections on many materials and media such as ceramics, enamels, furniture, leather, parchment, photography, sculpture, stone, textiles, paints and pigments, inks and dyes, adhesives, solvents, and lacquer).  Part 3: Paper.  Part 4:  Painting.

Reference  Z N9205 W54


J.M.W. Turner, Rockets and Blue Lights

J.M.W. Turner.  Rockets and Blue Lights (Close at Hand) to Warn Steamships of Shoal Water, 1840.  Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MA

Click here for information on the 2001 conservation of this work.


Restoration of "Nymphs and Satyr"

Tom Branchik, Director and Conservator of Paintings at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center, doing a cleaning test on the Clark's "Nymphs and Satyr" by William Bouguereau.