The Chantry Library – A Valuable Conservation Resource in Oxford

I have been excited recently to have the opportunity to peruse the Oxford-based Chantry Library https://chantrylibrary.org/how-to/.   This an important reference collection of conservation literature which has been owned and managed by the Oxford Conservation Consortium since 2016, following previous custodianship by ICON (the UK Institute of Conservation).  The library is located next to the OCC studios in very pleasant surroundings in which to spend a few hours browsing.  It houses a wealth of information and many treasures.  The library is open to all who are interested in using it, by appointment, and while not offering borrowing, operates a scan/copy and email/post service for a small fee as well as a paying inter-library loan service.  The  collection can be searched through SOLO, the University of Oxford’s online catalogue of the major collections of the University libraries.

The Chantry Library was endowed by the Chantry family in 1999 in memory of Judith Chantry.  While it is primarily a collection of publications on book and paper conservation – which makes its management by the OCC (the conservation and collection care services for the historic library and archive collections of a number of colleges within the University) very apt, it has good sections on general conservation topics: conservation ethics, collections management, materials science, pigments and media, analysis and research and documentation and includes sections on many conservation disciplines beyond paper, including architectural, building and wall painting conservation.  It also has an excellent archive of conference post prints and organisational literature from both UK and international conservation bodies.

I recently spend a very pleasant morning browsing the collection – realising it will be invaluable for future research projects.  I was also very happy to look through the selection of duplicate publications which were on sale at extremely reasonable prices.  I came away with an early 1990s UKIC (before it became ICON) publication on a series of wall painting case studies, ICOM-CC conference preprints – which included a paper about the treatment of limestone blocks at Karnak Temple in Luxor, a Suzanne Keene classic on museum management and a copy of the brilliant Pigments Compendium, mentioned here before https://www.biancamadden.com/more-analysis-for-pigments/– I already own a copy but was very happy to find this for a colleague.

I very much look forward to returning to the Library soon for a research trip, and meanwhile would highly recommend it to colleagues wishing to undertake research or indeed wanting to add to their own libraries, while the duplicate selections for purchase still remain.

Above, adding to my studio conservation library with a selection of sale duplicates from the Chantry Library.