chapter  3
17 Pages

The nature of conservation

Every object is in part an aesthetic entity, an entity (a physical reality) which provides an aesthetic experience for everyone who senses (sees, feels, touches, smells or hears) it. Every object which is consciously made or selected by a human being contains shape, colour and texture which that individual has created or chosen from a range of possibilities. A steel tool may be left unpainted, for that is how its manufacturer wishes it to look, rough and functional, whilst another is given a coat of paint so that it appears finished, clear and neat. Many functional objects have minimal aesthetic input; thus a coat of paint is functional in preventing rust, and may be brightly coloured so that it is easily seen, but there is still an aesthetic in selecting the colour. Some objects' very function is aesthetic; an oil painting has little other function than to create a visual image and stimulate an idea, emotion or reaction in the viewer. The aesthetic entity is that aspect of the object deliberately created by the artist or manufacturer in order to communicate with the user or viewer and as such can be considered the physical manifestation of the 'artist's intent'. This aesthetic quality of objects has been expressed in many ways; for example, William Morris regarded craftsmen as putting their 'genius' into the objects they created, so endowing the object with a 'soul-like quality'.