Previous Conservation Internships
National Gallery of Ireland
Maria Canavan 2010 - 2011
Maria holds a degree in Fine Art (painting) from Dublin Institute of Technology. Her introduction to conservation was her employment as a preservation assistant at Trinity College Library where she worked on the Long Room Preservation Project. Maria also studied Conservation of Fine Art (easel paintings) at Northumbria University (2008 - 2010) and completed various gallery work placements during the summer terms including a placement at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2009.
As part of her internship, Maria worked on a painting entitled The Finding of the Money in Benjamin’s Sack, part of the Gallery’s French catalogue, which is attributed to Nicolas Bertin. There is a duplicate painting in the collection with the same attribution, which was also in need of conservation treatment. The treatment was concerned with stabilising the painting, which had been in storage faced with a heavy glue layer due to previous flaking and paint loss and returning it to display standard.
In addition, it is hoped that the treatment will allow for a more accurate attribution, especially when compared with the other painting. The investigation of x-ray, infra-red images and cross-section samples from the paintings will help to shed some light on this.
Peggy Remé 2009 - 2010
As part of her internship, Peggy worked on the conservation of The Triumph of Amphitrite by Etienne Jeaurat (1699-1789). The painting was in a fragile condition and had not received conservation attention for many decades. The paint-layer was de-laminating in places and the painting’s overall legibility was greatly reduced by a discolored varnish layer. A major treatment was therefore undertaken to strengthen the paint-layers and return the painting, as far as possible, to the beautiful range of colors originally intended.
The first stage of treatment involved strengthening fragile areas of paint-layer with an animal glue adhesive. Removal of the discolored varnish, a restoration layer likely to date from the early 20th century, resulted in a dramatic improvement in the painting’s appearance. Following removal of the degraded varnish and crude retouchings from previous restorations, a thin isolating layer of varnish was applied prior to retouching areas of damaged paint-layer. Despite the paintings considerable age, the paint layers were found to be in very good condition.
Losses were retouched using dry pigments ground by hand in a synthetic, specially devised resin. This is a reversible process and although applied in a manner to be largely invisible in the future, the retouchings can be easily removed without causing damage to the original paint-layer. Finally, a layer of protective varnish was applied to improve saturation levels throughout the painting.
This major conservation project has greatly improved the painting’s appearance. Strengthening the paint layer has ensured the future structural stability of the work whilst removal of the degraded varnish layer has ensured a better understanding of the composition and improved legibility of color and tone throughout the painting.