During the Parliament's Conference Recess a team of postgraduate conservation students conserved works from the Parliamentary Art Collection in a temporary studio in the Houses of Parliament.
The ten students – five studying easel painting conservation at the Courtauld Institute of Art and five studying the conservation of 3D objects at the City & Guilds of London Art School – worked under the supervision of specialist conservators.
Based in the historic surroundings of Peers’ Dining Room in the House of Lords, they worked on 18 easel paintings and their frames, which were prioritised from the Parliamentary Art Collection for treatment. Conservation work included condition checking and documentation, surface cleaning and minor treatment of frames and paintings, and upgrading presentation.
The works included a nineteenth-century painting of the trial of Charles I in Westminster Hall, a series of views of the bomb damaged House of Commons Chamber from the 1940s and a portrait of John Rushworth, House of Commons Clerk and later an MP, attributed to William Dobson and dated 1645.
This was the fifth year of this collaborative project, which provides a cost-effective way for Parliament to conserve the works in its care while helping to train the next generation of conservators.
All the students are paid bursaries to take part.
Over the five years that the project has been running some 102 paintings and frames have been conserved and 50 students have gained valuable hands-on experience. A number have gone on to be employed on further Parliamentary Art Collection projects, and one is now a tutor on the student project.
The UK Parliament Curator’s Office is very grateful for the hard work of this year’s participants:
Courtauld Institute of Art
Tutors: Maureen Cross, Alison Seed
Students: Alexandra Chipkin, Francis Kendall, Alice Limb, Anna Vesaluoma, Luz Catalina Vanasco
City & Guilds of London Art School
Tutors: Gerry Alabone, Mark Searle
Students: Batoul Algasra, Ona Curto Graupera, Elizabeth Hughes, Miyuki Kajiwara, Jonida Mecani
• City & Guilds of London Art School MA in Conservation [external website]
• Courtauld Institute of Art Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings [external website]
Images: © UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor