We have just heard the sad news that Karen Finch has died. A Grande Dame in the best sense of these words. She was responsible for creating the Hampton Court Textile Conservation Centre and for bringing textile conservation into the professional world in Britain. She hammered home the message that textiles have a story to tell and should be treated with respect (and not simply as an ‘old rag’). A message that the TRC will continue to push, shout and battle for!
Karen also had an influence on me as a young student, she was always willing to answer questions, make suggestions and tell stories. When I first started as a textile archaeologist in the early 1980’s she gave me a one week ‘conservation’ course at Hampton Court – basically first-aid for textiles – free of charge and with the willing help of all her staff. A week that gave me confidence and helped me to the present day. We have kept in contact, as have many of her former students, even if it was only a Christmas card, or a quick chat at this meeting or that conference. I am proud to say I am one of her ‘girls’. Thank you Karen.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, Director, TRC Leiden.
For a full obituary of Karen Finch, click here.