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Aims and Purpose

Statement of Purpose

The Hamilton Kerr Institute is one of the world’s leading centres for teaching and research in the conservation of easel paintings.

The postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings combines academic teaching and closely supervised studio work and is awarded by the University of Cambridge.

The Institute also offers advanced practical and theoretical internships in the conservation of easel paintings of up to two years’ duration. The internships are designed to allow graduates of a recognised easel paintings conservation training programme the opportunity to concentrate on practical studio work, together with opportunities for research work.

As a department of the Fitzwilliam Museum, the Institute carries out the conservation of paintings and polychromy in its collections, as well as providing conservation services for other clients. These activities provide income to support the Institute and its work, as well as a range of projects which students and interns can undertake, under supervision.

The Institute also undertakes research into conservation techniques, materials and techniques of paintings, disseminating the results by publication, seminars and conferences.

The Institute has the following core aims

  • To teach the postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings to the highest standards and to regularly review the course content in order to respond to the needs of the conservation profession. To this end, staff will be encouraged to keep abreast of new and developing techniques in the treatment and technical analysis of paintings. 
  • To offer internships to recent graduates of recognised conservation programmes. 
  • To undertake the conservation of paintings for the Fitzwilliam Museum and also for a range of public and private clients.
  • To undertake and disseminate research concerning conservation techniques, materials and techniques of paintings. 
  • To actively seek funding in order to undertake research.
  • To collaborate with other institutions on research and conservation projects.
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Secrets of a Cabinet Miniature

Jul 03, 2018

The conservation and analysis of a miniature painting by Isaac Oliver

Celebration of Mary Kempski's Retirement

Apr 23, 2018

Alumni of the HKI, along with painting conservation practitioners gathered at the Hamilton Kerr Institute on Friday 20th April to celebrate Mary Kempski’s retirement.

Praise for Spike Bucklow's 'Red'

Feb 09, 2018

Spike Bucklow's "Red" was placed on the American Library Association's prestigious 'Choice List' of Outstanding Academic Publications, 2017. A review in the Burlington Magazine (CLIX, 2017, p. 737) said it was ‘written by a research scientist but with the flair of a biographer’

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