Artist’s walking stick repaired at West Dean


A WALKING stick owned by Scottish artist and colourist Francis Cadell, or ‘Bunty’, is being conserved at West Dean College.

Cathy Silverman, who is studying on the conservation and restoration course, has been repairing wear and tear to the walking stick handle, covered in shagreen or ray’s skin – a very popular decorative material in the Art Deco period.

“I haven’t worked with shagreen before and I couldn’t find very much information on conservation of ray’s skin and had to work it out for myself,” said Cathy. “I persuaded a London furniture maker to let me have some offcuts of shagreen. I mixed different colours of leather dye and watercolours to stain the pieces to match the original skin and finished with a protective layer.”

Francis Cadell’s great-nephew, Patrick Cadell, asked the college to complete 
the work.