Class Booking


Practical Leather Conservation Course for Historic Leather 28th - 31st May 2024


Full Price - £520.00 per person
ICON Member - £485.00 per person
Deposit - £200.00 per person

We will accept a deposit to hold the spot the full fee must be paid at the start of the class.


Practical Leather Conservation Course for Historic Leather. Tutor: Theo Sturge ACR Overview This course is intended for experienced conservators/restorers and students of conservation. A considerable knowledge of conservation is assumed. It is not intended for those without prior experience. An introductory course to some of the techniques more commonly used in leather conservation. The course will include theory and practical experimentation. The course will aim to provide participants with a range of techniques for use on a wide variety of leather artefacts.  In this course, the student will gain PRACTICAL skills in the conservation of historic leather.  In addition to learning the different types of 'leather' the student will learn about how to restore the colour to leather, to make small repairs, how to gild leather and many other practical skills.  The details of the four day course are provided next. Topics to be covered include:
  • Methods of repair, including the choice of repair materials and adhesives, with hints and tips on getting the best results. Repair materials including leather and woven and non-woven fabrics will be considered.
  • Gap filling with Beva 371, leather, Japanese tissue paper etc.
  • Surface finishes and dressings.
  • Cleaning.
  • Humidification to allow reshaping.
  • Dying leather and toning in areas of damage to match the surrounding colour.
  • Leather working techniques. To include skiving with an English knife, basic saddle stitching with two needles, and skived joints.
Make a piece of gilt leather. The following is an outline of the programme. Day one. Tuesday Morning
  • Introductions.
  • Case study.
  • What goes wrong with leather.
  • Leather as a material. Some basic properties which can affect its use in conservation.
  • What is gilt leather?
Afternoon Introduction to practical exercises. The leather working skills - sewing and skiving - are not programmed for a specific time but can be fitted in when you have a little spare time. Practical session:
  • Start making your gilt leather by applying silver leaf.
  • Make Beva 371 filler.
  • Prepare Beva 371 on Reemay.
  • Prepare Lascaux dispersions on Reemay for solvent reactivation tomorrow.
  • Look at the identification of leather samples.
Day two. Wednesday Morning
  • Case studies
  • Adhesives used for leather.
  • Mould your gilt leather or decorate with punches.
  • Try different adhesives and repair materials. Adhesives include: Lascaux acrylic dispersions, Evacon-R, Beva Film, solid Beva 371 and starch paste. Also, solvent reactivation. Repair materials include: Leather, Reemay, Japanese paper and silk.
Day three. Thursday Morning
  • Case studies
  • Repair materials. Colouring leather. Gap filling.
  • Finish adhesive trials from yesterday.
  • Dying / colouring leather.
  • Varnish your gilt leather.
  • Gap filling with solid Beva 371 – including Russia leather and a hole in crocodile.
Day 4. Friday Morning
  • Case studies.
  • Cleaning.
  • Humidification and reshaping.
  • Consolidation.
  • Treatment of red rot.
  • Finishing leather - dressings, in-painting etc.
  • Repair a hole in a piece of damaged, coloured leather and reinstate the lost colour using two different methods. Insert an inlay if wished and time available.
  • Repair a split in some sheepskin as might be found on a flying jacket.
  • Optional: Strip line your gilt leather for mounting on a frame.
  • Optional: Paint your gilt leather if time allows.
Note: a sandwich lunch is provided to all students. Tutor: Theo Sturge ACR FIIC. Theo is the UKs most experienced practising leather conservator. In 2000 he established the Sturge Conservation Studio which specialises in historic leather. He teaches internationally. 0044 (0) 1604 717929. Dates: From Tues 28th -  Friday 31st May 2024, from 9:30 - 16:30   Price (note all prices are in pounds)
  • Full price - £520.00 per person
  • Icon Member - £485.00 per person
  • Deposit - £200.00 per person
We will accept a deposit to hold the spot. The full fee must be paid at the start of the class. Please fill in the form and click 'Proceed' to book your place on the course.

This class has now been filled but please check back later or contact us as there may be cancellations or we may can help you find an alternative.