Since 2019, the Tata Trusts Art Conservation Initiative has been engaged in establishing, developing and strengthening art conservation centres in five zonal locations across India, and creating a cohort of trained conservators. One of the key objectives of the initiative was to design and implement 3-month, practically intensive training courses in the conservation of ten specific materials: stone, wood, oil paintings, metals, natural history specimens, paper (prints, drawings and maps), paper (manuscripts and miniature paintings), photographs, textiles and wall paintings.

Through 2021 -2023, nine such courses were conducted in collaboration with the five zonal partner institutes. Through the courses, data was collected pertaining to damages and deteriorations commonly seen in art objects of specific materials, to help conservators in charting appropriate treatment plans for their objects. Data was also sourced from a previous Trusts-supported project.

The ‘Listing of Damages for reference in Art Conservation’ is a digital visual guide developed by collating this data in consultation with subject matter experts. The guide will aid and assist art conservators as well as custodians of art collections, to correctly identify damages, their causes and effects, in order to plan for their conservation treatment. It also informs the custodians of how the deterioration will progress if not arrested in time. It is intended to be a guide for practical use, categorised material-wise, and is a work in progress as listing possible damages and deterioration is not an exhaustive exercise. The reader is encouraged to observe the damage on the actual object, broadly categorise it, and match the visual in the book. Following this identification, the listing can guide in understanding the probable reason and basic mechanism of how the deterioration proceeds, and what it could lead to.

Chapters will explore damages and deteriorations with respect to specific materials enumerated below:
1. Stone sculptures and objects
2. Metals
3. Wood sculptures and objects
4. Paper (Prints, manuscripts and miniatures)
5. Textiles