Image: The Lewis Walpole Gallery, Yale University, Farmington, Connecticut.

On Monday, September 8th, 2014, Specialist Furniture Conservator, Yannik Chastang gave a Brown Bag Lecture at the BGC entitled “Conserving Royal Treasures: Secrets of the Workshop.” Chastang studied cabinetmaking and marquetry for 6 years at the École Boulle in Paris. He was employed at the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and at the Wallace Collection in London, and has been a furniture conservator since 1995.

Yannik Chastang’s lecture highlighted his process in conserving several pieces of historical French furniture made for the Royal Court and the evidence revealed during the course of this conservation process about the techniques and materials used to make them.

For Chastang, the work of a conservator involves the understanding of history, science, and craft. He portrayed the conservator as master craftsman, as agent in the preservation of history, as detective sifting through archival documents and examining the object itself in search of clues, and as a conductor of experiments to determine past techniques.

The Walpole Coffer, c. 1700-1720 by André-Charles Boulle, (pictured at left) is one of the pieces of historic French furniture that Chastang featured in his lecture.

Chastang (website here) currently heads a conservation workshop located in Faversham, Kent, Great Britain. His work has included conservation of historic French furniture from Chatsworth House, Boughton House, and Alnwick Castle.