Ian Constantinides Memorial Lecture 2016

Up from the Ashes: The Restoration of Historic Buildings After Calamitous Fire

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This evening six experts will grapple with the problems of what to do with historic buildings when they've been devastated by fire. Leading craftsmen will show and talk about the beautiful work that is created in the aftermath of disaster.

Who pays? Do you rebuild, repair, or create something new? And for whom?

In the last 30 years, Prior Park, Uppark, Windsor Castle... have all risen from the ashes at vast expense. The fate of Clanden House is under discussion right now.

Martin Drury (former Director General of the National Trust and Chairman of the Landmark Trust) will use these recent examples to discuss the principles by which decisions are reached.

Ian Constantinides, in his lifelong promotion of craft skills, had the opportunity to work with a variety of extraordinary craftspeople; a number of them will present examples of how, from the ashes of the fire, craft skills were reborn and re-invented.

The Programme

David Odgers will introduce...

Martin Drury, former Director General of the National Trust

Geoffrey Preston, one of the UK's leading architectural sculptors.

Clare Venables, who re-modelled two ceilings at Windsor.

Rene Rice, conservator in stone and plaster

An audio recording of Ian Constantinides talking about the joinery and woodcarving at Uppark.

Ben Harmes, on woodcarving at Uppark

And, of course, Q & A at the end.

David Odgers


David is a consultant on all aspects of conservation of stone and plaster. He is senior tutor on the Building Conservation Masterclass programme at West Dean; he runs courses in the Gulf and Palestine and is a core instructor on the ICCROM international stone course in Rome.

Martin Drury CBE

... was Director-General of the National Trust. Currently, he is Chairman of the Landmark Trust, Vice-chairman of the Attingham Trust and President and Vice-President of a remarkable number of prestigious and influential heritage and conservation societies. He was awarded the CBE in 2001.

Geoffrey Preston

is one of the UK’s leading architectural sculptors. He has been at the helm of many significant projects, including the restoration of the 18th century hand-modelled plasterwork at Uppark House. He now leads a small team of sculptors who produce fine new decorative plasterwork for clients all over the country.

Clare Venables

…began modelling in plaster on the fine stucco panels at Prior Park, trained by Geoff Preston and team. Following the fire at Windsor in 1992, she led a team of modellers for St Blaise in recreating two ceilings; both extreme examples of late Georgian rococo revival. She's been designing and creating new plasterwork ever since.

Rene Rice

…led the plaster conservation work at Prior Park, and undertook the new ornamental ceiling for the National Trust at Buckland Abbey. He is now plaster section manager for Cliveden Conservation Workshop.

Ben Harms

Ben's expertise is in traditional ornamental carving and gilding. He works on major carving contracts to conserve and restore National Trust and historic buildings. Ben is a former president and active member of the MCA (Master Carvers Association) and Freeman Of The Worshipful Company Of Furniture Makers.

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2016Martin Keeley