A satisfying showcase of world-class talent


Anyone who remembers the infamous 2012 ‘Ape Christ’ incident – when a well-meaning old Spanish woman tried unsuccessfully to restore a 1930s fresco – will understand that there is real art in conservation. BBC The secrets of the museum is all about celebrating this art.

His second series returns to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, peering behind locked doors to reveal just how meticulous work is required to care for the smallest of treasures.

The eclecticism of the V&A collections makes it the perfect subject. In the first episode alone, if you didn’t like Jim Lea’s metallic red Glam Rock costume from Slade, there was a Renaissance watercolor by Jacob Jordaens that needed saving, a great kimono display that must be prepared for a world tour and a rare wax model of Michelangelo unearthed in a cold room.

It’s a sweet and heartwarming sight to watch, knowing that these people know exactly what they’re doing, with moments of tension extending to a wobbly wagon ride for said Michelangelo model returning to the galleries. stressful china store, this will push all your anxiety pimples).

Guardian Geoff Marsh inspects the bright red sequin jacket owned by Jim Lea from glam rock band Slade (Photo: Matt Kennedy / BBC / Blast! Films)

Rather, there was a dearth of non-white voices, no doubt reflecting the lack of diversity across the museum sector as a whole, but the specialists featured were impressively talented, especially textile conservator Jo Hackett, whose work meticulous precision needlework was astonishing.

At a time when some have become skeptical of experts, this has been a very satisfying showcase for world-class expertise.

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