Restoring a Landscape with Figures

Many of the paintings that come through our studio have had a long and eventful history. One such painting, Landscape with Figures attributed to the School of Teniers (Fig. 1) falls into this category. This blog describes the plucky painting’s road to recovery, and shows how paintings can be transformed with some TLC.

When brought to the Institute, the painting was in poor condition and in need of structural and aesthetic treatment. The original canvas was beginning to peel away from its old glue-paste lining and damage and wear to the paint layers, caused from harsh cleaning by previous restorers, was also evident and needed addressing. The raking light photo of the painting before treatment (Fig. 2) shows that the painting had severe undulations that related to the condition of its canvas support.  The tacking margins were so degraded that in many places the canvas was no longer attached to the stretcher.

Figure 1: Landscape with Figures, whole front, before treatment (©Titmus)
Figure 1: Landscape with Figures, whole front, before treatment (©Titmus)
Figure 2: Landscape with Figures, whole front raking light from the bottom, before treatment (©Bayliss)
Figure 2: Whole front raking light from the bottom, before treatment (©Bayliss)


Before the structural work began, the painting was cleaned. The varnish present on the painting was blanched and the painting appeared unsaturated as a result (Figs. 3 & 6 ). Both the varnish and overpaint were removed with solvents (Figs. 4 & 7). Brown overpaint had probably been applied to mask the severely abraded paint layers and the removal of this overpaint allowed us to appreciate certain details of the painting that were previously hidden. A horse and rider were discovered in the bottom right hand corner (Figs. 6 & 7 & 8), and the hawk (Figs. 3 & 4 & 5), which had been visible but completely swamped by the surrounding overpaint, was suddenly part of the narrative again.


Structural treatment

The painting has a large tear in the top left hand section that had gone through both original and lining canvases. A wax patch had been adhered over the tear on the reverse before the tear was filled and retouched from the front (Fig. 9). It was decided that the painting required re-lining, as the original canvas no longer had the capacity to support the paint layers. Lining is an interventive technique that in the past was often carried out on paintings as a preventive measure. Thoughts and fashions change though, and lining is really only considered now as a last resort when structurally treating a painting. However, it was certainly necessary in this case, considering the poor condition of the painting.

The painting had been glue-paste lined in the past, and we decided to re-line the painting using the same method. Glue-paste lining has been the traditional method in Britain and while it is less commonly used these days, it is sometimes used for paintings that have tears that need supporting (as in this case), or badly cupping or flaking paint.

Firstly, the painting needed to be de-lined – the old lining canvas and lining adhesive removed. The painting was faced (a process where tissue paper is glued onto the front of the painting in order to protect it) and then placed face down on a covered board. The tacking margins were so degraded that they could be gently pulled away from the stretcher.


Before de-lining, the wax patch was peeled away from the lining canvas using white spirit to soften the wax (Fig. 9). The painting was de-lined carefully, leaving the original canvas with much of the lining glue-paste present on the back of the painting (Fig. 10). This glue was mostly brittle enough to be scraped away with a blunt knife (Fig. 11 & 12). However, some of the glue could not be removed in this fashion. Laponite (a synthetic clay) was applied which swelled the glue-paste allowing the glue to be scraped off. De-lining, revealed a small gap between the sides of the canvas along part of the tear. This was filled by the addition of a canvas insert of sized linen.

A new, linen lining canvas was prepared. For the lining, a layer of warmed lining adhesive was applied to the lining canvas. The painting was laid on top of the glue and gently padded down to smooth it down and make sure there weren’t any trapped air bubbles between the canvases. The painting was ironed through four layers of canvas, and the temperature of the paint was constantly checked by hand (Fig. 13). Although the iron used in this process looks ridiculously large and heavy, as its weight is spread out over a large area it does not exert too large a pressure on the paint. Raking light was used to check the texture of the surface and a cold iron was used in some areas to chill and set the paint to the work out any distortions. After this first ironing, the facing was changed and the painting ironed again in a similar fashion.

The painting was left to dry for several days before the facing was removed. Since the result of the lining was satisfactory, a coat of BEVA was applied onto the reverse of the lining canvas to act as a moisture barrier before the painting was re-stretched.

Filling, varnishing and retouching

The painting was varnished and retouched using Gamblin© Conservation Colours. The wear and losses in the paint layers were retouched imitatively to a standard thought appropriate for the condition of the painting. Touching out the wear in the foreground helped to solidify the landscape and reintroduced a recession into the distance.

Figure 17
Figure 17: Landscape with Figures, whole front, after treatment (©Titmus)
Figure 18
Figure 18: Landscape with Figures, whole front raking light from bottom, after treatment (©Bayliss)

This was a wonderful project, allowing me to gain experience in lining and treading that fine line of re-intergrating a badly damaged image. There is obviously a narrative going on between these figures and the idyllic landscape now brought back to life, although we still don’t know exactly what’s happening in this painting. But this is certainly part of its charm and no doubt it will continue provoking the question, “what is going on?!” for many years to come.

Figure 19
Figure 19: Detail of startled man (©Bayliss)

Technical Examination of a Portrait of Thomas Sutton

This oil on panel portrait belongs to the City of Lincoln and depicts the founder of the Charterhouse, London, Thomas Sutton (1532–1611). The painting has been lent to the Charterhouse since the 1970s and was recently sent to the Hamilton Kerr Institute for technical analysis and study, in the hope of clarifying long-standing questions about its origin.

Figure 1. Thomas Sutton, Unknown English artist, 1622 (©Titmus/Courtesy of the Charterhouse, London)
Figure 1. Portrait of Thomas Sutton, Unknown English artist, 1622 (©Titmus/Courtesy of the Charterhouse, London)


The painting is attributed to an unknown English artist, but the date of the painting has been contested with two different theories as to the origin of the portrait. The date of c.1590 was suggested by Sir Roy Strong in the 1970s, and is based on the sitter’s age (Sutton would have been 58 in 1590) assuming that the portrait was painted from life. It was also postulated that the illustration of a cannon in the book, on which Sutton rests his hand, suggests that the sitter was at the time Master of the Ordnance (an office which Sutton held until 1594).

However, it has subsequently been suggested by the art historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, that the painting could have been a posthumous portrait of Sutton. Painting styles and portrait compositions do not change much between the late 16th century and early 17th century, making it difficult to judge on these aesthetic distinctions the date of a painting of this type. It was hoped that through technical examination, evidence of the painting’s making might come to light that could decide the long-standing question of whether this painting was a portrait from life or not.

During the examination of the painting, both under the microscope and using the other imaging techniques such as infra-red reflectography (IRR) and X-radiography, it became apparent that the painting has been severely damaged in its long history. These damages are old and hidden under several layers of restoration. It is common for paintings of this age to have suffered over time, but this painting is remarkable in the extent of the restorations currently present.


Thomas Sutton was an enigmatic and shrewd Elizabethan financier who amassed a great fortune during his life and became something of a myth after his death. He was known to his contemporaries as ‘Croesus’ or ‘Riche Sutton’,[1] and had the reputation of being the richest commoner in England when he died in 1611 at the age of 79. Originating from Lincolnshire, Sutton was a talented civil servant and made money from wise investments and purchasing favourable leases. However, it was really through his somewhat disreputable practices as a money-lender that Sutton accumulated and expanded his fortune.[2] Usury, while legalised in 1570, was not considered wholly respectable and criticised as a way of extorting money.

Sutton bought the Charterhouse in 1611 for the grand sum of £13,000 but died later that year, leaving an astonishing sum of money (some £50,000) for the establishment of the hospital and school in his will. This was not popular with Sutton’s heir-at-law, his nephew Simon Baxter, who, displeased with his inheritance of £300, tried to storm the Charterhouse by force.[3] After his death, Sutton’s will was published, and the astonishing gesture of donating almost his entire fortune to a charitable cause transformed the careful and private businessman into a Protestant saint of charity, hailed by the clergy as a ‘hero’, a ‘saint’ and even ‘the right Phoenix of charity’.

This fame prompted an interest in his life, and since the career of Sutton as a reclusive ‘usurer’ was not palatable to his fans, more exciting tales of Sutton were spread. He was even portrayed as a valiant soldier/merchant prince, who, through his thirty agents abroad and his privateering exploits at sea, contributed to victory in the great patriotic wars against Spain. While these myths have been eroded over time, Sutton’s final gesture of charity in the founding of the Charterhouse has certainly given this sombre character a place in the history of London.


The painting prominently displays two painted inscriptions and two coats of arms, all of which have been overpainted and are somewhat illegible in places. The two different coats of arms can be identified as Thomas Sutton’s personal coat of arms on the right-hand side, which was assigned to him after his death, and the Lincoln coat of arms on the left.

Donation Inscription blog
Figure 5: The ‘donation’ inscription in visible light and x-radiography (©Bayliss/Courtesy of the Charterhouse, London)
Restoration Inscription blog
Figure 6: The ‘restoration’ inscription in visible light and x-radiography (©Bayliss/Courtesy of the Charterhouse, London)

The inscription at the top, above Sutton’s head, is an unusual addition to a painting and refers to the restoration of the painting in the 18th century by the mayor of Lincoln. The inscription reads, “This Picture was Beau/tified & Refresh’d Ano/1750 George Ken/Major”.

The other inscription is harder to read as it has been damaged and badly overpainted in the past. X-radiography is a technique by which we can see ‘through’ the paint layers, or more precisely, we see the density of the painting mapped out. In this case, the x-radiograph of the painting shows the original inscriptions underneath the overpaint (see figures. 2 and 3). In the x-radiograph, the older donation inscription is quite clear and reads, “In honorable Memorie of this/famous & mor— benefactor/Edm. Blawe major in anno/1622. gave this picture”.

This inscription refers to the mayor of Lincoln in 1621, Edward Blow, but what is less certain is whether the date refers to the paintings making or whether it was added as the date the painting was donated to the City of Lincoln.


These inscriptions give an insight into the function and history of this painting as a publically owned painting. The portrait is in fact mentioned in a Historical Account of Thomas Sutton written by the historian Philip Bearcroft in 1737. He writes: “The Lea∫e of the Par∫onage of Glentham was bequeathed to the Poor of the City of Lincoln out of Regard to his Father(…) And in Gratitude for this Benefaction, there is now in the Publick Hall of the City of Lincoln a whole length Picture of Mr. Sutton, with this in∫cription, Effigies Illu∫t: Thomӕ Sutton Armigeri, given according to the In∫cription, in 1622 by Edward Blawe E∫q; at that Time Mayor, and beatified and refre∫hed in 1710, at the Expence of the Corporation, whole Poor continue to be Fed to this Day out of the Par∫onage of Glentham.”

Despite the reference to the portrait being a full-length, when there is no physical evidence of the painting being cut down, much of what is written by Bearcroft fits in with what has been deciphered of the inscriptions from the technical analysis. The incongruity between the dates for the restoration became clear when looking at the inscription in the x-radiograph, as the year originally read 1710 but has been copied incorrectly to 1750 (see figure 6). This fits with the name of the mayor, as George Kent was the mayor in 1710, rather than Edward Fowler, the mayor in 1750.[4]

Bearcroft thinks that the portrait was given as a response to Sutton’s bequest of the lease of the Glentham parsonage – i.e. as a gift received after his death. This implies that the 1622 date of the portrait’s donation also corresponds to that of its making. In addition, from what we know of Sutton’s life, it seems unlikely that a personal portrait of the man (he only became a public figure after his death) would have ended up in Lincoln, as Sutton had little connection to the city at that period of his life.


In addition to the historical evidence for the painting being a posthumous commission by the mayor of Lincoln in 1622, the dating of the panel using dendrochronology provides compelling evidence for this theory. Dendrochronology (or tree-ring dating) is a dating technique that uses the pattern of ring widths within a sample of timber to determine the calendar period within which the tree grew. The results for this painting gave the earliest felling date of c.1605 for the panel. If time is added onto this date for seasoning and processing of the wood, it becomes highly unlikely that this painting could have been made within Sutton’s lifetime.

This date certainly contradicts the idea that the open book is an indication that this portrait was made to commemorate a specific event in his career (e.g. his leaving office in 1594), or that is was painted while he was still the Master of Ordnance. It seems more likely if we consider this portrait to be a grateful representation of a man expressing the virtues of Christian charity, that it eludes to his more exciting and respectable methods of making his fortune.


Technical analysis has been used in this study to clarify certain aspects of the painting and give weight and further evidence to historical theories about the painting. The clarification of the old inscriptions and the dating of the panel support has given credence to the theory that this painting was made in 1622, after Sutton’s death and rise to fame, and commissioned as a public painting by the mayor of Lincoln to celebrate a Lincolnshire worthy.

Sarah Bayliss, 2nd year Post-Graduate Intern

[1] Neal R. Shipley, “Thomas Sutton: Tudor-Stuart Moneylender,” Business History Review, Vol. L, No. 4 (Winter, 1976): 456-476.

[2] Stephen Porter, The London Charterhouse: A History of Thomas Sutton’s Charity (Stroud: Amberley Publishing, 2009), 9.

[3] Hugh Trevor-Roper, Thomas Sutton, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed 14/10/2016,

[4] It’s All About Lincoln, accessed 18/10/2016,

About the Author

Ms Sarah Bayliss is a graduate of the Post-graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings at The Courtauld Institute in London. She also has a Master of Chemistry from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

To contact Sarah Bayliss:

Rood Screen Conservation at St Matthew’s, Ipswich

Six panels forming part of a rood screen housed in the medieval church of St Matthew’s in Ipswich, Suffolk, were the subject of a week-long in-situ in September 2016 by Christine Braybrook and Sarah Bayliss.

Medieval rood and parclose screens are decorative partitions that separate the chancel from the nave in a church, and were usually decorated with painted panels depicting saints or donors. Few of these screens survived the destruction and damage from iconoclasm during the Reformation and Civil War in England, but in East Anglia there are a significant number of them left which allows meaningful study and comparison of their construction and painting. This research was the focus of Dr Lucy Wrapson’s PhD thesis, Patterns of production: a technical art historical study of East Anglia’s late medieval screens (2013, University of Cambridge). The in-situ project was a direct result of this body of work as it was noted upon examination that the St Matthew’s rood screen was in need of consolidation in order to stabilise flaking and vulnerable paint.

(Click to enlarge photos)

Like many medieval churches, St Matthew’s has had several phases of building and re-building. The south arcade (where the rood screen is present) is late 14th century, the chancel, north arcade and west tower 15th century and the aisles and part of the tower 19th century. This medieval building continues to function as a modern day church and was warm with excellent tea making facilities – so top marks from the conservators, St Matthew’s!

The St Matthew Rood Screen

The six painted panels of the St Matthew’s rood screen depict four bishop saints and one male and one female group of donors (fig. 3). The panels have suffered a lot of damage during their history including significant iconoclasm to the faces of the bishops, accidental damage and ‘refitting’ to more modern tastes. The six panels are all that remains of the original rood screen as they have been set into a 19th-century screen, and it is probable that it was during this intervention that the colourful backgrounds were scrapped down to the plain wood. However, it is possible to see the shape of the original upper and lower dado tracery from the ghost shapes of the gilding on the paintings (fig. 4). A comparison of these tracery shapes with other parclose and rood screens (notably at Southwold and Woodbridge) ascribes a date range of c.1448-70 for the St Matthew panels.

Fig 3. The St Matthew’s rood screen, before treatment. The order of the panels from left to right show (possibly) St Thomas Becket, unknown bishop saint, unknown bishop saint, (possibly) St Erasmus, group of male donors, group of female donors. (© Bayliss)

Unfortunately, the four bishop saints have few iconographical features to allow them to be easily identified. It has previously been suggested by A. Baker that the first and fourth saint in the sequence are St Thomas Becket and St Erasmus respectively. This is based on the vehemence with which the first panel has been defaced (literally and metaphorically), as St Thomas Becket was a particularly hated figure during the Reformation (fig. 13), and the windlass held by the fourth saint is the attribute of St Erasmus. As the panels have been removed from their original structure and context, it is unknown whether the panels would always have been set out in this sequence.

Fig 4. Detail of the current wooden tracery and underneath the ghost of the original tracery shapes from the remains of the gilding. This photo shows the gilding on the right with the varnish removed, and the gilding on the left with the old varnish remaining. (© Bayliss)

Condition and Treatment of the Rood Screen

Upon examination, it was clear that some of the paintings had vulnerable raised and tenting paint, which could easily be knocked off and lost forever. They were also obscured by surface dirt and an old and very discoloured brown varnish, which had the effect of camouflaging the figures against the wooden backgrounds and dimming the original gold and bright pigments.

The first stage was to consolidate and secure the flaking paint, an important step in helping these rare paintings to survive as it limits further paint loss from these already damaged paintings (fig. 5). The paintings were then surface cleaned using Blitzfix™ sponges soaked in deionised water, pH adjusted with ammonia to pH 8-9 (fig. 6). While a lot of dirt was removed from the surface of the paintings, there was little aesthetic improvement.

(Click to enlarge photos)

Next, tests were undertaken to remove the dark and disfiguring varnish. Rood screens often have multiple layers of aged resin and/or oil varnishes, making varnish removal on-site extremely challenging, away from the comforts of a fully equipped conservation studio. However, in this case a small miracle occurred and the varnish was readily soluble using free solvents, revealing the beautifully preserved original paint film and gilding (fig. 7-9). After much rejoicing, we begun what turned into one of the most satisfying cleans I’ve ever done. The thick, brown varnish was removed, revealing the figures in all their remaining glory. The change was stunning as the gold regained its lustre and the pure colours of the robes were revealed. But what I enjoyed the most was seeing the faces again, no longer a dull shadow of the wood, but standing out against the background with their black drawn features and pale skin.

(Click to enlarge photos)

The varnish removal also allowed us to see more clearly aspects of the panels’ making. In some areas the underdrawing, which had previously been only visible in the IRR photographs of the paintings, became apparent through the paint and gilding. We were also able to find remnants of the coloured backgrounds (fig. 11). It was previously thought that, like many paintings of this time, the backgrounds would have been alternating red and green, but in actual fact all of the backgrounds were green. It also became evident that the robes of the bishop saints had been gilded completely and the decoration painted on top of the gold, rather than the artist/s leaving a reserve to reduce the amount of gold used (fig. 12).

(Click to enlarge photos)

Once cleaned, the paintings were brush varnished with Paraloid B72, a stable, synthetic varnish which will not discolour anywhere near as much, nor as quickly as the previously applied natural varnish!

(Click to enlarge photos)
Fig. 16 The rood screen after treatment. (© Bayliss)

This project was immensely satisfying and it was also wonderful to hear the surprise of members of the church at how changed their paintings looked. It was also a very pleasing change for us, as in-situ work tends to be more concerned with stabilising paintings and frames rather than transforming them. So to leave behind the rood screen glimmering gently, rather than lost in the shadows, was certainly an excellent end to the week.

Sarah Bayliss, 2nd year Post-Graduate Intern (2015-2017)

About the Author:

Ms Sarah Bayliss is a graduate of the Post-graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings at The Courtauld Institute in London. She also has a Master of Chemistry from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

To contact Sarah Bayliss:

A Year in Cake

One of the traditions at the Hamilton Kerr Institute is to bring in a cake for every occasion, like birthdays or unbirthdays, departures etc, to the extent that even first time visitors know how to win our favour. This academic year (2015-2016) there has been an explosion of cake, ranging from full-blown novelty to classy affairs. This blog post aims to give the reader a flavour of the Institute, through looking at the highs and lows of the year in cake. And as the icing on the cake we will end with our favourite recipe, Lemon and Poppy Seed.

Farewell to our friends Carlos, Sven and Kari, you are missed! And the gauntlet is thrown down for our new students and interns, Anna, Elisabeth, Emma, Jae and Lieve!

Camille & Sarah


Lemon-Poppy seed loaf

You will need:
– 190g unsalted softened butter (7oz)
– 190g plain flour (7oz)
– 190g caster sugar (7oz)
– 3 large eggs
– 1 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 4 tbsp of poppy seeds or as much as you want
– 2 tbsp lemon zest = about 3-5 lemons. The more the better !
– 25ml whole milk (1oz)
– 80g of greek yogurt (original recipe calls for ricotta cheese but yogurt makes it moist and tender)
FOR THE SYRUP: I usually don’t put it on, as I feel this is moist enough.
– Juice of 1 lemon
– 50g caster sugar

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees and grease and flour your loaf tin. Cream the butter (it needs to be soft obviously. 10 sec in the microwave can help) and sugar together.
2. Add the eggs one by one and mix in between, push the sides down with a spatula. In a separate bowl measure the flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest.
3. You have to add these dry ingredients in thirds, mixing well each time on a low speed. After the second batch, add in the milk. After the last batch, add the yoghurt. The less you mix, the better. You don’t want lumps, but you don’t want to overmix as it will make it dense.
4. Pop it all into your loaf tin and level it out. Put it into the oven for 40-50 mins, until your skewer comes out clean through the middle and its nicely browned on top. If the cake starts to turn a bit brown, do not hesitate to cover it with foil and put it back it until it is fully baked.
5. About 10 minutes before it’s all cooked make your syrup by putting the sugar, lemon juice and 100ml water into a saucepan and bring to the boil and let it reduce by half.
6. Once the loaf is cooked, prick a few holes with your skewer and pour your syrup over while the cakes still hot. Leave the loaf to cool a bit and then turn out onto the wire rack to cool it.

NB: You can also make it into muffins: this recipe makes 12-16 muffins.

(recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook)

In-Situ at Weston Park, Staffordshire

weston park view reduced
Front view of Weston Park. (© 2016 Kari Rayner)

Weston Park is a 17th century manor house owned by the Weston Park Foundation. It has been the seat of the Earls of Bradford since the 17th Century. The house is now open to the public for visits and guided tours in addition to offering venue for conferences, weddings and other events. The collection at Weston Park includes beautiful pieces of furniture, ceramics, tapestries and an impressive collection of paintings that hang in every room, including works by Van Dyck, Holbein the Younger, Thomas Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds and George Stubbs. For 20 years, these paintings have been the subject of annual in-situ visits by the Hamilton Kerr Institute, which has mainly focused on remedial, preventive and simple aesthetic treatments. This week usually takes place during the Manor’s off-peak season, allowing the conservators, including students and interns, to stay on site during this time in the highest of style!

In February 2016, senior conservator Mary Kempski headed up a team of four interns, Kari Rayner, Sarah Bayliss, Carlos Gonzalez Juste and Sven van Dorst, for the Weston Park in-situ. The work was carried out in the Music Room, a long, spacious room decorated mainly with paintings of the family’s champion horses. Over the week, we treated 16 paintings and their frames performing such tasks as surface cleaning, consolidation, revarnishing and conservation framing.

Setting up in the Music Room. (© 2016 Sarah Bayliss)

As with most in-situ projects, some of the paintings worked on would have benefitted from more interventive treatments, such as varnish and overpaint removal. However, as time, space and resources are limiting factors with regard to in-situ work, stabilising the paintings and improving their framing was of primary importance. However, there are several ways to improve a painting’s aesthetic in close confines; surface cleaning drastically improved the visibility in a number of paintings, and as varnishes often become less saturating over time, revarnishing as needed with a stable synthetic varnish such as RegalrezTM was an excellent way of restoring some of the saturation and depth to paintings. This can also help with evening the overall gloss, particularly when previous restorations have aged and become matter over time.

Another important part of the work as part of this in-situ project was to improve the framing of paintings. In the past many paintings were held in the frame by nails, which often damages the stretcher and tacking margins and make the painting difficult to safely remove. Framing can be improved by lining the frame with paper tape and felt, so that the paint surface has a cushion to rest against rather than wood of the frame. Fixings are replaced by brass plates that are screwed in, allowing paintings to be easily removed from the frame in the future. Stretcher keys can sometimes become loose and fall down in between the canvas and stretcher, resulting in damages to the canvas and paint layers: this can be prevented by tying the keys to the stretcher. A Tyvek® backing was added to the reverse of all of the frames to cover the backs of the paintings. This acts as a barrier, protecting the back of the painting from knocks, water damage and the ingress of dirt.

Documentation is also important part of an in-situ visit, as unframing paintings allows them to be properly evaluated for condition and potential issues that might cause problems in the future. Flaking paint and the weakening of the painting’s structural support (for example, the tearing of canvases or splits in wooden panels) are issues which can often be addressed in-situ, but may require further or more elaborate treatment in the studio. This condition checking of paintings is an important part of collection care, and can nip problems in the bud and prevent greater damage to the paintings from neglect.


During our in-situ at Weston Park, there were several opportunities for us to interact with the public and spread the word of conservation! This primarily took the form of ‘conservation in action’ tours, in which people were bought in to see what we were up to. This allowed individuals to directly ask us questions about the treatments of the painting, and also more generally about what we do as conservators. In addition to these tours, we were hounded by the Shropshire press. Mary Kempski and Sarah Bayliss appeared on the local radio talking about painting conservation, the Hamilton Kerr Institute and the in-situ project at Weston Park. The following day, reporters from the Shropshire Star interviewed Mary and took photographs of us in action.

It was refreshing for us to see the staff at Weston Park taking an interest in our work and to have facilitated our engagement with the local community, and we hope by sharing our experiences through this forum to equally engage a wider audience with our profession.

Sarah Bayliss – 1st year Post Graduate Intern at the Hamilton Kerr Institute

About the author

Ms Sarah Bayliss is a graduate of the Post-graduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings at The Courtauld Institute in London. She also has a Master of Chemistry from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK.

To contact Sarah Bayliss: