11.15 - 12.30 GMT


The speakers will be considering how the technical study of paintings informs conservation treatment. They will discuss various methods of analysis and their application to paintings from different time periods, and what the future holds in this area.

With Aviva Burnstock, Head of the Department of Art Conservation & Technology, Courtauld Institute, Simon Gillespie, Commercial Conservator, Alexandra Gent, Conservator Paintings (Collections, Special Projects and Exhibitions), National Portrait Gallery, Anna Cooper, Paintings Conservator, Tate.

Moderated by Hayley Tomlinson, Paintings Conservator, The National Gallery.

This panel is presented as part of the LAW 2023 Symposium held on Tuesday 5 December at the National Portrait Gallery in partnership with The Burlington Magazine.

Aviva Burnstock, Courtauld Institute

Aviva Burnstock is a Professor in the Department of Conservation at The Courtauld, London, where she took a Ph.D. (1991) and a Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings (1984). She was a Joop Los Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Physics (FOM/AMOLF) in Amsterdam, Netherlands (2003-5). From 1986-1992 she worked in the Scientific Department of the National Gallery, London after a year as a conservator in Australia with the Regional Galleries Association of New South Wales. She has a BSc. in Neurobiology from the University of Sussex, England. She has published widely in the field of painting techniques and materials and aspects of conservation practice.

Simon Gillespie, Simon Gillespie Studio

Simon Gillespie is a conservator-restorer of fine art and an art historian. He is known particularly for his work with Early British and Tudor portraits, although his practice extends across all periods from early paintings to contemporary artworks. Gillespie has been restoring art since 1978, having studied chemistry and undertaken two apprenticeships, before opening his own studio, Simon Gillespie Studio, in 1982. He has appeared frequently on the BBC series Britain's Lost Masterpieces and Fake or Fortune.

Alexandra Gent, National Portrait Gallery

Dr Alexandra Gent is a Paintings Conservator at the National Portrait Gallery in London and was conservation manager for the Inspiring People project reinstallation. Prior to joining the Portrait Gallery in 2018 she worked for English Heritage, Tate, National Galleries of Scotland and the Wallace Collection. At the Wallace Collection she was paintings conservator for the Reynolds Research Project and co-curated the exhibition Joshua Reynolds, Experiments in Paint. She was awarded a doctorate from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2019, writing her thesis on Repetition and Replication in Joshua Reynolds's Subject Pictures. She has produced a number of publications on Reynolds's painting technique, including an essay in the exhibition catalogue for Joshua Reynolds Experiments in Paint, and she was co-author of volume 35 of the National Gallery Technical Bulletin, devoted to Reynolds's paintings at the National Gallery and the Wallace Collection.

Anna Cooper, Tate

Anna Cooper ACR is a Paintings Conservator at Tate. She read History of Art with Material Studies at University College London before completing the Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Anna undertook a two-year internship at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge, after which she worked for several years in private conservation studios in London. Alongside her practical work, Anna was a Junior Clothworkers' Fellow and later an Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Anna joined Tate in 2018 where she specialises in the conservation of modern and contemporary paintings.

Hayley Tomlinson, The National Gallery

Hayley Tomlinson has worked in the Conservation Department of the National Gallery since 2007, working on a wide range of Old Master paintings. Her main research interests relate to the study of historical painting techniques and materials, with articles published on Italo-Byzantine paintings, Niccolò di Pietro Gerini, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, the Barbizon artists (principally Corot and Daubigny), Edouard Manet and Nicolas Poussin (the latter forthcoming). She has featured in a number of films presenting technical insights into works undergoing conservation treatment and/or examination: The Horse Race by Rosa Bonheur; Captain Orme by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Eva Gonzalès by Edouard Manet and the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian by the Pollaiuolo brothers (the latter forthcoming).

Salvator Mundi, Marco d'Oggiono (c.1475-1530) (circle of), The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust). Photo credit: The Courtauld.

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