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Best Books on Art Conservation and Restoration

Updated: Mar 24


Perhaps you are a beginner who has just stepped into the profession of art conservation.

Or maybe you are an experienced professional looking for the right materials to protect your delicate museum collections.

Or maybe, just maybe, you are seeking the best solutions to handle the restoration process of those old paintings.

Reading the books on art conservation and restoration is one of the practical yet cost-effective ways to address such concerns.


Thousands of books are equipped with reflections and advice on art care and conservation. But finding one that’s insightful, practical, and interesting—and a good one to read—can be overwhelming.


Here is a rundown of some valuable books on art care to help you hone your skills as a curator, museum manager, archivist, or independent collector.


Top 6 Books on Art Conservation and Restoration That Must Read ( INFOGRAPHIC)



(Infographic) - Best Books on art Conservation & Restoration

Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage:


This book is a part of a series called READINGS IN CONSERVATION BY THE GETTY CONSERVATION INSTITUTE. It guides you on the approaches of art conservation. The book has put a lot of important subjects into perspectives such as modern conservation theory, the original intent of the artist on how to approach historic restorations, the concept of patina, and the science in art conservation.


Above all, this book has been published by the GETTY CONSERVATION INSTITUTE that is a reliable authority in art care and conservation.



Conservation Treatment Methodology by Barbara Appelbaum:


Conservation Treatment Methodology | Barbara Appelbaum
Conservation Treatment Methodology

If you want to know how to approach an object before you actually start treating and handling it, this book by Barbara Appelbaum is a great help.


The book guides you through the visual examination and documentation that has to be done to help you choose the best method and materials for cleaning for adhering to infilling for painting. The author has listed all the different things you need to consider when it comes to conservation.


You will understand why one methodology is not great for every object even if it is made from the same material or made by the same artist. You will understand why it is important to go through the material science of the object as well as its historical and cultural significance and sentimental value while “treating” it.


Organic Chemistry of Museum Objects


In this book, the authors provide the fundamentals of the composition analysis and properties of the organic materials that you will find in museum collections. Besides, the book covers a full section on the various analytical methods being used in conservation like chromatography. The contents are more focused on conservation and museum materials.


The book has covered the fundamental chemistry of the materials such as paper, wood, natural, fibers, and skin products, as well as that of the comparatively minor components incorporated as media, varnishes, dyes, paint, and adhesives.


This book is a valuable purchase for all the professional and student conservators, museum professionals, curators, organic chemists, and restorers.


However, to make the most of the ideas given in the books, one should have a base in chemistry and any sort of chemistry textbook can help you with that.


The Story of Art:


This eminent book is the brainchild of Sir Ernst Gombrich (1909-2001) who is known for his expertise. He has authored several books that have been translated into more than twenty languages and many of them are classics.


His books are models of art-historical writing and stand for his deep and abiding concerns with the standards and values of cultural heritage.


However, it is important to have a basic understanding of art history so you can better approach your objects.






Conservation and Restoration of Ceramics:


This book has everything that you need to know about ceramics conservations and restoration. In fact, this is a must-have for someone who wants to master ceramics conservations and restoration.


The book covers everything like ceramic technology, deterioration, cleaning filling, consolidation, retouching, preventative measures, and how to set up a lab.


The book starts with a discussion of the basics of the ceramic medium, information which of the utmost importance when choosing treatments or considering preventive conservation steps.


Details on techniques are given in a series of chapters covering the restoration and conservation processes, but the highlight is on the fundamentals involves in the choice of materials and methods. The nature and properties of materials are fully discussed and instructions are given on the facilities and tools required.

This book also covers the old restoration materials and methods, the ethics of ceramics, assessment and display treatments, and emergency processes.

The Elements of Archaeological Conservation


The book covers everything it goes into archaeological environments and the various agents of decay in them.

This is downright essential as different materials will behave differently in wet areas than they would in dry areas. The book throws light on the reaction triggered by oxygen, and salt acidity of the soil. It also educates on the properties of each separate material and their properties, structure, and deterioration in the ground and post-excavation.


Although the book was first published in 1990, a lot of information is still relevant and valuable.


So these are some best books on museum care and restoration. Shop them now to learn from the renowned museum professionals!!!