Module Identifier MG30810  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Mr Robert K Meyrick  
Semester Semester 2  
Course delivery Practical   3 x 2 hour  
  Other   Visit to Museum Conservation Department  
  Lecture   6 x 1.5 hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment Essay (a)50%
Semester Assessment Condition Report and Treatment Proposal (b)50%
Supplementary Assessment Different essay questions50%
Supplementary Assessment Condition Report and Treatment Proposal on a different work50%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. appreciate the importance of monitoring sensitive and vulnerable material;
2. discuss issues specifically related to the conservation of easel paintings;
3. document the various stages of conservation to provide subsequent conservators with a record of the   object and its conservation history;
4. have an insight into the cleaning and treatment of paintings and frames;
5. articulate ideas about the role of the easel paintings conservator.

Brief description

The module aims to provide an understanding of the materials and techniques employed in easel painting conservation. It explains the history and use of different conservation techniques and materials. It outlines the training and accreditation processes in the conservation profession and also introduces ethical issues in conservation.


The module is aimed at students who may be contemplating a career in museums or art galleries. An art curator or exhibition organiser would benefit from a good understanding of some of the concerns and processes in easel painting conservation. Knowledge of the criteria by which to choose a conservator, and the qualifications and accreditation processes a fully trained conservator should posses, would also be valuable.


Lecture / Demonstrations (1½ hour):
Techniques of Conservation - lining and panel mending
Techniques of Conservation - cleaning
Techniques of Conservation - filling and retouching
Techniques of Conservation - conservation documentation
Ethical Issues and Controversies
The Scientific Examination of Paintings
Practicals (2 hour):
Surface cleaning
Conservation framing
Conservation studio of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff   and/or
National Conservation Centre, National Museums and Galleries of Merseyside, Liverpool

Module Skills

Problem solving Development of practical skills in conservation techniques, solving problems through an analysis, evaluation and interpretation of oil paintings.  
Research skills Develop a programme of research and self-directed project/journal work that provides evidence of an investigation and evaluation of the theory, practice, history and technical skills easel painting conservation.  
Communication Development and encouragement of communication skills via practicals, discussion, and peer critiques.  
Improving own Learning and Performance Development and encouragement of a self-critical approach and creative thinking, working through practicals, projects and journal work, with regard to a number of conservation practices. This culminates series of practical exercises that examine how conservators work.  
Team work Development and encouragement of teamwork and student interaction will occur within practicals, discussions, and critiques.  
Information Technology Word processing of essay and research via the websites of professional bodies: Museums Association, etc.  
Application of Number N/A  
Personal Development and Career planning Provides insight for students into the materials, techniques, studio practice and ethics of conservators. It is appropriate for students considering careers in conservation or in museums and art galleries.  

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
ICOM (1997) Manual on the Conservation of Paintings Archetype, London
** Recommended Text
Bomford, David (1997) Conservation of Paintings National Gallery, London
Caple, Chris (200) Conservation Skills Routledge, London
Hackney, S. (ed) (1990) Dirt and Pictures Separated UKIC, London
UKIC conference papers (1995) Lining and Backing, UKIC, London
Villers, C (ed.) (2004) Lining Paintings Archetype, London
(2000) Retouching and Filling ABPR conference papers, London

Technical Bulletins National Gallery, London


This module is at CQFW Level 6