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Hamilton Kerr Institute

Fitzwilliam Museum

Studying at Cambridge


Mary Kempski

Mary Kempski

Assistant to the Director/Senior Painting Conservator

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 832 040


Mary has a degree in the History of Art and Fine Art from the University of Reading (1972-1976). She has a postgraduate diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings from the Hamilton Kerr Institute (1977-1980) and was intern at the Akademie der bildenden Kunste, Vienna (1980). From 1981 she has worked as a freelance conservator at the Hamilton Kerr Institute in the Institute’s London studio and in Cambridge. Since 2003 she has taught and supervised students, becoming a full time member of staff in 2008. She became Assistant to the Director in 2010.

Research Interests

Her interests include historical techniques and reconstructing paintings with historical materials and the use of tempera as a retouching medium.

Key Publications

  • A. Cooper and M Kempski, Don Rodrigo Calderon on HorsebackHamilton Kerr Institute Bulletin, 5, 2014
  • M. Kempski, D. Leonard, E. Boyce, J. M. Massing, Conservation and Technical Study of Siciolante da Sermoneta's Deposition of Christ from King's College ChapelHamilton Kerr Institute Bulletin, 4, 2013
  • M Kempski, Making Reconstructions at the Hamilton Kerr InstituteIn Artist's Footsteps, the Reconstruction of Pigments and Paintings, ed. L. Wrapson, J. Rose et al., London, 2012
  • M Kempski, The Art of Tempera Retouching, Mixing and Matching: Approaches to Retouching Paintings, ed. R Ellison, P Smithen and R Turnbull, Archetype Publications Ltd.  2010M Kempski and M L Sauerberg, Past care and treatment of the Westminster Retable from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, Painting and Practice: The Westminster Retable: History, Technique, Conservation, ed. P Binski & A Massing, HKI & Harvey Miller, London-Turnhout, 2009, 203-214
  • M Kempski, Retouching MediumsRetouching Mediums, post-prints of the Icon and ABPCR conference, 2005
  •  M Kempski, Reconstruction of St Edmund: towards an understanding of the visibility of the underdrawing and a demonstration of the paint layer techniqueThe Thornham Parva Retable, Technique, conservation and context of an English medieval painting, ed. A Massing, 2003, 54-66
  • M Kempski and A T da Silva , TreatmentThe Thornham Parva Retable, Technique, conservation and context of an English medieval painting, ed. A Massing, 2003, 74-92
  • M Kempski, Tempera RetouchingRetouching and Filling Conference, post-prints to the ABPR conference, 2001
  • B Ormsby and M Kempski, The commission and restoration of six portraits of the daughters of George III, by Sir William BeecheyHamilton Kerr Institute Bulletin, number 3, ed. A Massing, Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, 2000, 107-118
  • M Allden (Kempski) and R Beresford, Two altar-pieces by Phillipe de Champaigne: their history and techniqueThe Burlington Magazine, June, 1989, 395-406