Bigger and Better Things

In this week’s blog, Sarah MacLean, an MA Conservation of Fine Art student from Northumbria University, describes a two-week work placement she undertook with us in July 2018…

During my time studying Fine Art at Undergraduate level, I always did big things; used metre upon metre of canvas, and sculpted near-immovable forms twice my height. Now, as an MA Conservation of Fine Art student at Northumbria University, large format works are still where my interests lie, and I’ve had the opportunity during my work placement at the CRC to work on a wide variety of those.

The works I’ve been able to conserve so far during my time here are part of the Patrick Geddes Collection. Geddes (1854-1932) was a Scottish-born polymath with interests and expertise in biology, sociology, geography, and urban planning, and it’s for his pioneering work in this latter field that he is best known. As such, the large format plans on which I’ve worked within the Collection so far are mainly hand-drawn and coloured mappings of urban developments in locations everywhere from Dunfermline to Imperial Delhi.

A pleasant and unexpected feature of hand-drawn and coloured works of art on paper – timorous marginalia beasties!

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Conservation Work Placement at St Cecilia’s Hall

In this week’s blog, Alberto Bonza, an apprentice from Italy, describes his time working with conservators from the CRC…

I am writing this blog post at the end of my six weeks of volunteering at the CRC, which I think came far too soon!

I am an apprentice keyboard instruments maker and restorer, working with my father in our family business in Italy. Before my placement in Edinburgh, I worked on various early instruments, such as the 1788 Taskin harpsichord in Milan ‘Castello Sforzesco’, and the 1782 J. A. Stein fortepiano. My most recent work has been the reconstruction of the chromatic harpsichord owned by the Prince of Venosa, Carlo Gesualdo. A few months ago, I decided to contact Musical Instrument Conservator, Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet, to see if I could volunteer at the CRC in order to improve my skills.

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Conservation Student- Claire Hutchison

In this week’s blog, Claire, our first placement student of the summer describes her experience of working with us…

My name is Claire and I am a conservation student from Northumbria University, specialising in paper conservation. This is the first of several voluntary work placements I must carry out as part of my Master’s degree. Working at the conservation studio the past two weeks has challenged me to work with new materials outside of my specialism.

Claire working in the studio

I have been working on artworks that will be displayed as part of the University’s new exhibition, ‘Highlands to Hindustan’ which goes on display at the end of July. My role was to conserve the works where needed, but to also improve the storage and display of the objects. This meant a great deal of multi-tasking and time management. Continue reading

A Hurdy-Gurdy Experience

Today’s blog post comes from Michelle Kirk, a West Dean College student (MA Conservation of Furniture and Related Materials) who undertook a conservation placement with the CRC this Summer...

Although usually practising and training within the realms of furniture, this summer kicked off to a musical start with a work placement at the CRC, under direction of their musical instruments conservator Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet.

This was an especially exciting time due to the redevelopment of St Cecilia’s Hall, and I was presented with a number of objects to work with, one of which intrigued me more than anything else – a rather sorry looking late 18th century hurdy-gurdy (MIMEd 1052) made by ‘Ouvrard’ in Paris.

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The instrument before treatment. Photographed by Susan Pettigrew

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Conservation Placement – Northumbria University

Lisa Mitchell, conservation placement student from Northumbria University, describes her experience of working at the CRC in this week’s blog post…

Over the past two weeks I have had the pleasure of working with the conservation team at the CRC as part of my summer placement for my Master’s degree in conservation on works of art on paper.

Following an intense but fulfilling first year studying at Northumbria University, the summer has provided a very welcome respite from assignment writing and the opportunity to put some of my newly taught conservation skills into practice!

Working alongside Emily Hick, the Special Collections Conservator, I have been fortunate enough to assist her in the completion of the final stages of the conservation treatment of a collection of 32 portraits from India, which Emily has recently written about in her Passage to India blogs (part 1 and part 2 can be read by clicking on the highlighted text).

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