Our Conservation and Preservation team prepares objects for display so that our visitors can enjoy them.

When you find yourself admiring an object on display you are often looking at the results of many months of work and a large team all working together to get it there.

Conservation and Preservation is a part of that large team and each object can require several of our different specialists to work together to prepare it for display.

Preparing an object for display

When an object is chosen that has been in one of our stores, a conservator first checks the condition of the object to make sure it can be safely moved from the store to the conservation studio. 

Once the object is in the studio, it will be treated to make it look presentable. For example, in paintings conservation we might address lifting and flaking paint, dirty varnish coatings, or even tears in the canvas. Once the painting has been cleaned and repaired, it might need careful retouching to reintegrate damaged areas.

Our paintings often have historic frames, with delicate surfaces. One of the first checks the frames conservator makes is to look for any loose or lost areas of decoration and ornaments. Losses will be replaced and retouched to make the frame look its best. 

The structure of the frame can be treated to make sure it is strong enough to hold the painting and glass. The glass protects the surface of the painting from dust and pollution. 

Once the object has been conserved, it is ready for display. We continue to look after our objects and frames while they are on display, to keep them looking good.