Bodleian conservator wins distinguished award from The Radcliffe Trust

26 November 2015 

Sabina Pugh, Senior Book Conservator at the Bodleian Libraries, has won a distinguished award from The Radcliffe Trust.

She was one of eleven individuals chosen to receive the Balfour of Burleigh Tercentenary Prize for Exceptional Achievement in Crafts.

The Radcliffe Trust was founded in 1714 by the will of John Radcliffe, the doctor and philanthropist whose legacy also funded the construction of the Bodleian Libraries’ Radcliffe Camera. The Trust supports the UK’s traditional cultural heritage and crafts sector, as well as classic music performance and training.

'In 2014-2015 the Radcliffe Trust is commemorating the 300th anniversary of its establishment by Dr John Radcliffe of Oxford,' said Felix Warnock, Chairman of the Radcliffe Trust. 'As part of its Tercentenary, the Trust is delighted to be celebrating the achievements of the many extraordinary organisations and individuals it has supported over the years with the Balfour of Burleigh Tercentenary Prizes for Exceptional Achievement in Crafts. These prizes are named in honour of Lord Balfour of Burleigh who retired as a Trustee in 2014 after 40 years' distinguished service to the Radcliffe Trust and, in particular, to the Trust’s Heritage and Crafts programme.'

Image of Sabina Pugh, Senior Conservator at the Bodleian LibrariesThe Balfour of Burleigh Tercentenary Prize is a cash prize awarded to individuals who have achieved something of exceptional merit in the field of craft, which may include designer-making, heritage crafts, rural crafts, building crafts, conservation crafts and artefact conservation. 

'All the nominations for these awards spoke of excellence and expressed the exceptional dedication, skills and achievements of the individuals concerned in all fields of crafts and conservation,' Warnock said. 'The Radcliffe trustees recognise that to receive a nomination is itself an outstanding distinction and offer their sincere congratulations to nominees and prize winners alike.'

'We are delighted that The Radcliffe Trust has recognized Sabina's superb work as a conservator,’ said Virginia Lladó-Buisán, Head of Conservation and Collection Care at the Bodleian Libraries. ‘During more than two decades at the Bodleian Library, she has beautifully executed hundreds of conservation projects with remarkable quality and rigor. Throughout her career she has helped develop the next generation of book conservators by guiding and mentoring many staff, interns and students in our conservation workshops.'

Pugh joined the Bodleian in 1991 after working with some of the biggest names in book conservation in the UK, including Professor Nicholas Pickwoad, advisor to the National Trust and Tony Cains at Trinity College, Dublin. Once at the Bodleian, she then received extensive in-house training from Christopher Clarkson. She is a specialist in the conservation of medieval parchment manuscripts and early printed books, and has conserved and rebound some of the Bodleian’s most treasured manuscripts including the renowned Leofric Missal, an illuminated manuscript written in the 9th-11th century and The Zouche Hours, a book of hours from the 14th century.

Lord Balfour presented Pugh and the other prize-winners with their awards at a special event in London on 24 November.

Back to top