An Annotated Bibliography of the Published Writings of Karen Finch
The following bibliography was compiled by Mary M Brooks and published within Textiles Revealed: Object Lessons in Historic Textile and Costume Research (London: Archetype Publications, pp 151–160) in 2000. It has since been updated to include additional writings and translations by Karen Finch.
The author describes her personal development as a conservator. The importance of historians, conservators and scientists working together in textile conservation studies in order to enable the best possible understanding of historic objects is discussed.
The work of the Textile Conservation Centre is described. Adhesive treatments are evaluated including a discussion of reversing treatments on a 1690 Soho tapestry and Mary Birch’s dress (published in Studies in Conservation (1963) 8(3), 106-11, q.v.). The importance of appropriate documentation, research and treatment choice is stressed.
A detailed description of a rare medieval felt hat discovered in a church tower in Essex and now in Saffron Walden Museum. The construction and fabrics of the hat including the lining, underbrim, inner hat band and brim binding are detailed. The conservation treatment was carried out at the Textile Conservation Centre by Caroline Rendell.
A paper on this topic was also presented to the Centre de l’Etude des Textiles Anciens (CIETA) meeting, Prato, Italy, September 1981.
A discussion of the damage caused by inappropriate materials and techniques in textile conservation and the practical implications of the principle of reversibility. The removal of adhesive (Vinamul 6515) from a John Vanderbank Chinoiserie design tapestry using a solvent is discussed. The prospectus for the three-year postgraduate Diploma course run at the Textile Conservation Centre in conjunction with the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London is included.
First presented as a paper at Techniche di Conservazione degli Arazzi Convegno Internazionale, Firenze, 18–20 September, 1981.
The role of conservation in enabling greater understanding of historic textiles is discussed. The importance of teamwork and co-operation in facilitating a common goal is stressed while effective documentation is seen as being central to enabling new discoveries to be made. A detailed and comprehensively illustrated discussion of the treatment of Sultan Tipu’s Kit, taken by the British from India after his defeat, concludes the paper to demonstrate the value of information gained through conservation which was undertaken between 1972 and 1974.
Part of this research was presented at the Harper’s Ferry Symposium, November, 1984.
The significance of the information revealed through conservation is discussed and the role and responsibilities of the conservator and curator reviewed. The training needs for textile conservators are summarised. A detailed history of the background and establishment of the Textile Conservation Centre at Hampton Court Palace concludes the paper, including a discussion of the development of the postgraduate Diploma in Textile Conservation.
An edited version of a paper first presented at the Joseph Columbus Tapestry Symposium, National Gallery of Art, Washington in October 1989.
As compiler, I would like to thank Dinah Eastop, Senior Lecturer, Textile Conservation Centre, and Sheila Edwards, Librarian at the Textile Conservation Centre from October 1995 to March 1998, for their help in preparing this bibliography. I would also like to express my thanks to Dr Karen Finch OBE herself for great patience and assistance in locating publications – and for trying to teach me the Danish alphabet.
The Textile Conservation Centre holds a number of unpublished papers by Karen Finch in its archive. These may be consulted on request. Karen Finch is also a longstanding contributor to AATA abstracts.