We are delighted to announce the 2023 winner of the NHIG Award for Heritage Metalwork Conservation. From a fascinating and varied shortlist, first place was awarded to the Tijou screen in the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace which was a collaborative project, with blacksmiths Paul Allen of Motcombe Forge and David James of George James & Sons, working alongside project manager Rob Umney of Historic Royal Palaces and architect Andrew Harris. Originally constructed of Swedish charcoal iron between 1689 and 1692, the panel (one of 12) has been subject to several interventions over the years, with this most recent restoration project aiming to take it back to its original state as closely as possible.
The judges were particularly impressed by the meticulous attention to detail throughout the conservation of the panel, from the initial condition report and painstaking research through to the very high-quality execution of the practical elements, commenting ‘it is an exemplar of best practice within ironwork conservation’. Architect Andrew Harris responded to the win by saying: “It’s a big responsibility to be working on such an iconic object and a huge help to have this endorsement from NHIG”
Two ‘Highly Commended’ awards were also made to Peter Crownshaw for his work on an Italianate gate in a baroque style for a private client in Shropshire, and Peter Palmer of CIWS for his work on the restoration of a cast iron Weighbridge Building dating from the 1880s at the Black Country Living Museum.
In all cases, the judges were struck by the care and attention to detail with which work had been carried out, demonstrating a genuine desire to honour the original makers and preserve the spirit of their work. The 2024 award will open for entries early in the new year, and we very much look forward to visiting an equally varied range of inspiring projects.