Lilias Trotter: Missionary, Artist

Lilias Trotter: Missionary, Artist

In the 1890’s, an English woman named Lilias Trotter sketched and wrote entries in her journals nearly every day for the last 40 years of her life. These small masterpieces documented her time spent in North Africa on missionary work. Three of those journals were recently discovered in Surrey, England and have been restored and digitized by The Conservation Center for future generations. Provided is a narrative of Trotter’s life and the challenge of tracking down these journals and sketchbooks as told by her biographer, Miriam Rockness.

More on Lilias Trotter >

Lincoln’s Loveseat: Restoring a Historical “Courting Couch”

Lincoln’s Loveseat: Restoring a Historical “Courting Couch”

Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day this month, and we couldn’t think of a more suitable time to finish restoring Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln’s “Courting Couch” for The Springfield Art Association’s collection in Springfield, Illinois. Romantic sparks flew between the 16th U.S. president and his future First Lady, Mary Todd, right on this horsehair-upholstered sofa built in the 1830s. The Conservation Center revived an 180-year old loveseat and along the process, uncovered a lost piece of history hidden in the arm cavity. 

Learn how the Lincoln “Courting Couch” was restored 

"A Day in the Life" at The Conservation Center

"A Day in the Life" at The Conservation Center

At The Conservation Center, we're passionate about caring for fine art and artifacts from around the country, right here in Chicago. So we thought what better way to show off what we do best by giving you a close-up look of "a day in the life" at our workspace through a photo essay, shot by two photographers in different styles. There are treasures and intimate moments everywhere to be found. C'mon in!

Conserving Western Illinois University's "A New Deal for Illinois"

Conserving Western Illinois University's "A New Deal for Illinois"

In spring of 2013, The Conservation Center was invited to assess the condition of Western Illinois University’s important Federal Art Project collection. After more than four months of conservation in our labs, 40 of those works were curated into a major exhibition titled A New Deal for Illinois, which was on view at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, last fall. Now, WIU is prepared to welcome home its prized collection on January 18. An insightful video, produced by University Television, documents this extraordinary collaboration between WIU and The Center.

A Refreshed Frame for "Madonna and Child"

A Refreshed Frame for "Madonna and Child"

Just in time for the holidays, The Conservation Center completed extensive frame work for a beautiful Madonna and Child painting for the Diocese of Rockford collection. Josh McCauley, The Center’s Associate Conservator of Frames and Gilding, carved out new decorations by hand, showing off his true attention to detail and expert craftsmanship. Learn how the Madonna and Child frame was conserved.

A Renewed Appreciation for Frank Zappa

A Renewed Appreciation for Frank Zappa

What happened in 1961? John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States; “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” by The Shirelles was a #1 hit; and the non-dairy creamer was one of the greatest inventions of the year. It was also the time when a budding young musician named Frank Zappa discovered his artistic creativity and painted Horny. More than five decades later, the painting made its way to The Conservation Center, where we restored the masterpiece to its original glory. More on the “Mother of Invention” and how we conserved his work.

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