Canning Studios

Art Restoration & Decorative Painting

Canning Studios is a conservation studio based in Connecticut that has specialized in art restoration, decorative painting, plastering, consulting, and more since the early 1970s.


It is our mission to foster and promote excellence in restoration and conservation with a historically faithful preservation approach. Our knowledgeable tradespeople, artisans, scholars, and business professionals are experienced in the use of traditional methods and materials. They advocate for the integrity of the original design intent, the preservation of architectural fabric, and the coordination and cooperation of trades within a framework of owner/architect/contractor collaboration. Our firm’s principals are experienced tradespeople whose practical, applied skills aid in every step of a project, including estimating, planning, quality implementation, administration, and documentation.

Canning Studios’ unique attributes can be summed up in three words: knowledge, tradition, and integrity.


Integrity is born out of deep respect for, and understanding of, the quality workmanship of past generations that is embodied in our built environment; pride in the ability to restore such monuments to their original glory; and honor in being entrusted to do so. Canning Studios’ high level of professional integrity has earned the respect of the historic preservation community nationwide.


John Canning was educated in the decorative arts in Scotland, where he apprenticed for five years and received his ‘journeyman’ credentials from the London City Guilds. His experience represents two styles of learning. The first is history and theory; the second is applied techniques of traditional methods and materials taught by master decorators. With this background and over 45 years of experience in the trade, John Canning is uniquely qualified to interpret decorative schemes from both scholarly and tradesman’s perspectives.
Senior decorators at Canning Studios have completed apprenticeships in the decorative trades. The program curriculum was developed by John Canning and is recognized by the State of Connecticut Department of Labor. Our apprentice/journeyman learning relationship is a time-honored method of passing knowledge from generation to generation and is unmatched by any other studio. Continuing his service to the decorative arts trade, John Canning has served on the Advisory Board of the London City Guilds.
Canning principals and senior staff continue their professional development through participation in professional organizations committed to excellence and advancement of preservation and conservation. The Association for Preservation Technology (APTI) is devoted to sharing knowledge and new technologies among professionals in the preservation trades. The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) provides guidelines for the conservation and preservation of historic treasures in its Code of Ethics. The intent of both organizations is to provide professionals with the knowledge needed to ‘do no harm.’


Canning Studios maintains tradition in a variety of ways. The first is our skill in the traditional methods and materials used for decorative finishes for hundreds of years, and our commitment to passing this knowledge on to the next generation. Second is the tradition and continuity of our senior staff and skilled decorators. Our senior staff have an average of 15 years supervisory and management experience with the firm. Tradition at Canning Studios is also a family matter; now in its second generation, family members play key roles both in management and trade positions. Equally important is our continued tradition of collaboration among owners, architects, and tradespeople. This collaborative model was used in the design and construction of our nation’s landmarks, and it continues to be the best approach to their preservation and restoration.