Conservator (Objects), Knole
Conservators are used to working in dingy basements or forgotten back rooms but Knole’s conservation studio changes all that with its airy open plan space where staff work and interact with visitors. It is this connection with the public that attracted Carmen Vida, an objects conservator specialising in 3D objects such as wood, leather and metal, to Knole.
Carmen studied archaeology at the University of London where she became increasingly interested in conservation. She went on to study for an MSc in Conservation for Archaeology and Museums at UCL graduating in 2013.
Passing on her knowledge to others is one of the most satisfying aspects of the job as she discovered during internships in the organics section of the British Museum and in the conservation department at the Museum of London.
She has also run conservation training projects in Kosovo and Bosnia for the charity Heritage Without Borders, which sends UK conservators to post-conflict zones to develop heritage skills in museums and archaeological sites.
Carmen particularly enjoys working with leather and exploring multi-layered surfaces, a specialty that fits well with Knole’s range of decorative surfaces.
She has recently worked on eight ornate gilded sconces, circa 1700, which have now been rewired and reinstated in Knole’s Ballroom. Carmen carried out structural work to strengthen and support the arms, as well as repairing the ornate gilding which was flaking.
Her next task is a large delicate mirror from the Cartoon Gallery, which she will stabilise and clean. She is also collaborating with external conservators on stabilising a leather chest circa 1657 discovered in the attic last year and thought to have been used to move objects to Knole.