Authenticity and Replication: The 'Real Thing' in Art and Conservation

Rebecca Gordon, Erma Hermens, Frances Lennard (eds)

UK Price: £37.50 US Price: $90.00

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ISBN: 9781904982999
Binding: Paperback
Dimensions: 246 x 175 mm
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 84 colour, 37 half tones

What is the ‘real thing’ in cultural heritage? The papers in this book address the concepts of authenticity and replication for the interpretation, display and conservation of our cultural heritage.

In the West the value placed on ‘original’ materials has been central to our understanding of cultural heritage. While advances in conservation science provide detailed information on the tangible properties of objects, there is a growing emphasis on the importance of their conceptual framework and the context in which they were created. Therefore, we have to consider the value of different ways of representing objects and debate whether one stage of their history should take precedence over others. In this context, the potential use of replication broadens the discussion on authenticity and brings about additional challenges – in what circumstances does a replica gain significance as another form of the ‘real thing’?

While the concept of authenticity continues to be one of the core factors driving decision making in conservation and interpretation, new approaches towards the display and use of collections are challenging conventions, making the roles of curators, conservators, art historians and conservation scientists increasingly complex. The papers in this volume address this dilemma and provide a platform for the continued discussion of this valuable and intriguing subject.

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These papers cover a broad range of conservation disciplines and periods, documenting philosophical thinking as well as object-based research and treatment. The 'authenticity' of the artwork or artefact is of central concern to the conservation field but the scope of this text extends further, encompassing museum display, education and visitor experience. While there is no doubt that each paper stands alone, this is a volume worth reading in its entirety.
The Picture Restorer - No. 44, Spring 2014

The papers in this publication provide accessible insights into the complex, constantly shifting attitudes to the 'authentic' and the 'real thing', and discuss where conservation sits in this evolving process. For me the beauty of the book is the variety of the reflective object-based case-studies presented, the diversity of the backgrounds and tone of the writers. [...]
The papers offer an excellent introduction to the concept of authenticity as a core factor driving decision making in conservation and interpretation and should, I feel, be placed on every conservation student's reading list.
ICON News - December 2014