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“Having worked with Etherington Conservation Services of the HF Group for nearly fifteen years as Conservation Coordinator for the Library of Virginia, there was no question in my mind to whom I would turn for conservation/preservation advice when I assumed my current position at Washington and Lee University in January 2013. More than 130 volumes of the original library of Liberty Hall Academy (now known as Washington and Lee University) had survived the ravages of time (including fire and theft). The library, purchased by W&L’s first rector in Philadelphia in March 1776 had taken on a significant intrinsic value and physical restoration of the entire collection became a top priority in my first few months here. In order to raise the necessary funds for the full restoration project, a conservation assessment was in order. Private funding from a Washington and Lee alum allowed us to bring Matt Johnson, Senior Conservator for Etherington Conservation Services, to Lexington in July, 2014 for a week to undertake the conservation assessment.
Working with Matt has always been a joy and even more so with this visit since he was on-site. He is painstakingly thorough with his assessment yet careful to patiently explain what his recommendations entail. Because of his years of experience, he exudes a quiet confidence which allows the client to feel he/she is getting the most practical solution. I trust Matt, implicitly, when he tells me what is required for treatment yet, if there is ever a question of budget issues or specific treatment requests by a donor, he is always prepared to offer appropriate alternatives, if possible. Customer satisfaction is certainly a motto that Matt lives by. Conservation services by a stellar group like Etherington are, by nature, not inexpensive. However, after years of working with these wonderful people, I can say without hesitation, that the quality of work and the satisfaction of interacting with wonderful professionals like Matt Johnson, makes the investment a priceless one.”
Tom Camden ‘76
Head, Special Collections & University Archives
Washington and Lee University
“Thank you so much for your extraordinary work! The binding of the Celsus is absolutely beautiful with its gorgeous tooling, and I love how the black leather complements the text and even the handwritten notations inside. The transformation of the plague book is something I did not know was possible-the quality of the paper and the repairs you made are amazing.” – SY, Special Collections
“I just wanted to exclaim my awe at the very very beautiful bindings you sent back…. All are impressed. The Nuremberg is especially beautiful, my jaw dropped to see that you used alum tawed pigskin….and the tooling is beautiful.” -MM, Collections Conservator
“We so much appreciate your excellent care of the books, as well as your artistry and skill in restoring them to optimum condition. We will be featuring them in a class for 55 undergraduate nursing students on Friday, as they begin their study of the history of medicine. This will be the first of many future exhibits and displays of which they will be a very important part.” – SSY, Historical Collections Specialist
“I have had time to go through the 1611 (King James) Bible since we got home, and I want to thank you for the great work you did on this Bible. I was very reluctant to spend the kind of money we did for this work, and I still have a hard time believing I did so, but the quality of your work was exceptional. We plan to keep this Bible in our family for generations to come…and we owe this fine piece in large part to your skill.” -SM, Private Client
“Thank you very much for doing such a wonderful job on our tintype and crayon enlargement. They are great additions to our exhibit.” -DM, Executive Director
“I had a wonderful time meeting everyone and touring your wonderful facilities that it made the day brighter than it was.” -AP, Curator of Special Collections
“Many thanks for the assistance. Not the biggest job you have done for someone, but still important for us little guys.” -RK, Private Client