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. The diversity of materials in paintings — from oil on canvas to mixed media synthetic paints on everything from glass to polyester — means that the team must work with versatility and immense skill.
Canvases become acidic and brittle. Paints crack. Timbers dry and distort.
Painting Conservators are constantly monitoring works, and intervention comes in two forms: structural and cosmetic. The former can include re-stretching canvases or re-building supports. The latter addresses everything from cracking and flaking, to discolouration and accumulated dirt.
Frames form an integral part of many paintings, protecting works and influencing the overall aesthetic. Maintaining or reproducing historic frames also falls within the Painting Conservators’ broad skillset.