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Hamilton Kerr Institute

Fitzwilliam Museum


Interns in the conservation of easel paintings are encouraged to use all the facilities offered by the Institute, including the painting studios (under the supervision of a conservator) and the laboratory (under the supervision of the Research Scientist).

Interns are required to visit exhibitions and collections with members of staff and attend lectures given by specialists during the period of their internship. Occasionally, an intern might undertake a short secondment to the Institute’s London Studio in Ebury Street.

Practical Conservation

Following an initial period of assessment of ability, interns will undertake a range of projects, under the supervision of a member of staff, in order to become familiar with current techniques employed by the Institute.

The type of project undertaken will depend on the intern's own experience and will aim to introduce new and enhance existing skills. There will be an emphasis on the structural treatment of paintings on canvas and on panel, and interns will be encouraged to suggest different approaches based on their own past experience. 

Interns will also be expected to give presentations, from time to time, to members of the Institute on their past and current projects.

There will also be opportunities to work off site to treat work in private and public collections as well as at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Conservation Science

The Institute’s laboratory is equipped with polarised light and transmitted light microscopes for the identification of pigments and examination of cross sections. The Institute also has access to scanning electron microscopes with elemental analysis facilities in Cambridge.

The expectation is that interns will be able to coordinate scientific research in the laboratory with the examination and/or treatment of paintings in the studio.

The emphasis of past work has been on inorganic materials and artists’ techniques. Other analytical methods can be arranged as required and other subjects of study are welcomed.

A significant corpus of analytical results has been accumulated since the Institute opened in 1978 and this presents opportunities for scientific research beyond particular paintings that may be undergoing examination or treatment in the studio.

The Institute has also become home to a number of important conservation-related archives that include artists’ materials, historic documentation, historic photographs and annotated images. These too present opportunities for scientific research.

Research is encouraged on primary sources – paintings, samples, archives, etc, and also on the management of technical data.