The role of the Conservation Department is to ensure the legacy of the collection via the long-term preservation of the works that reside here or are on loan to the Gallery.
Each work of art requires intimate and specialised care. Conservators use a range of processes including documentation, analysis, treatments and preparation for exhibition. They conduct research and scientific analysis into the unique histories, materials, manufacture methods and conditions of works that come into the collection.
Conservators are highly skilled, with individuals focusing on specific areas of collection management. These include paintings, textiles, work on paper, electric and kinetic works, as well as object-based works such as bark paintings, installations and sculpture.
The Conservation Department staff are also responsible for maintaining the condition of the collection as a whole, ensuring a stable environment and providing advice on storage and display techniques.
Objects of art in the national collection vary immensely in size, material and form. The Object Conservators are responsible for the care, preservation and restoration of the Gallery’s sculptures, decorative art pieces and cultural objects.
The National Gallery collection comprises a diverse range of works on paper, including prints, watercolours, photographs, scrolls, screens, drawings and more.
Made of organic materials, paintings change as they age. Painting Conservators are responsible for their maintenance and preservation, as well as advising on hanging, handling and installation.
Maintaining the vision and intent of the artist is at the forefront of textile conservation. All textile objects have a natural deterioration process — slowing that down while retaining original features is the key aim of Textile Conservators.
The Preventative Conservation team’s aim is to preserve all works of art by controlling the environment in which they are displayed, stored and transported.