As a Paintings Conservator, my role is to carry out conservation treatments and provide conservation support for the Gallery’s displays programme, preparing paintings for display and providing conservation support for exhibitions. I assess the condition of paintings and advise on conservation requirements for offers, new acquisitions and loans into the gallery. I also make recommendations for, and implement, conservation measures towards the long-term care of the collection on display and in store.
I carry out practical treatments on paintings that require conservation (see https://www.npg.org.uk/research/conservation/frederick-prince-of-wales-and-his-sisters-the-music-party), and work alongside curators to develop our understanding of artistic materials and techniques using analytical methods such as x-radiography, ultraviolet radiation and microscopy. The gallery’s conservation pages contain details on some conservation treatments, such as the conservation of portrait of Anne Boleyn (NPG668) https://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/making-art-in-tudor-britain/case-studies/conservation-treatment-of-a-portrait-of-anne-boleyn)
I joined the Gallery in 2010 after completing my post graduate diploma in Easel Painting Conservation at The Courtauld Institute of Art. During my three years’ formal training I had placements at English Heritage, Liverpool Museums and Manchester City Art Galleries, the latter with the support of the Association of Art Historians’ Voluntary Work Fund. I completed my undergraduate degree in Art History and Italian in 2004 at the University of Leeds and have been an accredited conservator (ACR) with the Institute of Conservation (ICON) since 2016.
My published research investigates rigid insert systems as a means of supporting canvas paintings and protecting them from vibration and environmental variations. Testing materials such as polyesters, acid free card, adhesives and foamcore boards was part of the research which reviewed appropriate methodologies for non-contact and removable supports.
Past studies apply material science to the degradation of artists’ media that accounts for efflorescence and whitening of modern paintings. Using established analytical methods such as cross-section paint analysis, scanning electron microscopy and scientific theory I was able to explain surface changes that had been noted on twentieth-century paintings in a historic house. My research revealed how modern paintings can be affected by changes in environmental conditions.
‘Vibration management for canvas paintings: a review of rigid stretcher insert systems, their materials and application’ in ‘Current Technical Challenges in Painting Conservation’, Angelina Barros D'Sa, Lizzie Bone, Rhiannon Clarricoates and Helen Dowding (eds), 2015, Archetype Publications
‘Characterisation of surface whitening in twentieth-century European paintings at Dudmaston Hall, United Kingdom’ with Burnstock,A., de Groot, S., and van den Berg, K. J, published by ICOM-CC International Council of Museums Conservation Committee 16th Triennial Conference, Lisbon, 2011.