I am asked quite a lot about training in the Conservation of Paintings and training in Conservation generally. Primarily Conservation is a vocation – you won’t get monetarily wealthy working in this field but you will enrich your life! – I am biased I know, but I think Conservation is a wonderful world and its never too late to discover it.
Here are the 3 main courses for Paintings Conservation in the UK plus one in Conservation Studies – check websites for undergrad and postgrad degrees and Diplomas:-
Conservation of Fine Arts at University of Northumbria – Newcastle
Courtauld Institute of Art
Hamilton Kerr Institute Conservation of Fine Arts – Cambridge
A course in Conservation Studies is on offer at:-
City & Guilds Art School – London
I taught for a number of years here and the course is exciting! It doesn’t offer Paintings Conservation but you will learn about paint and pigments and materials and techniques. There are undergrad & postgrad studies. Placements within major institutions are often organised as part of the training. There is a stone carving yard with many students going on to work in stone carving workshops across the UK. Frame conservation is also part of the course where gilding is a major component. Polychrome sculpture and other painted surfaces on a multitude of objects can be anticipated, along with training in Laser Cleaning.
Chemistry is a necessary part of any training in Conservation not only for understanding the core materials and methodology of conservation but for identifying the materials you are working with. Its applied chemistry and absolutely essential and absolutely fascinating!
Hope this helps!
The author cleaning a portrait of ‘Louis VIII (1755-1824) King of France by François Gérard (1770-1837)