A summation of projects and experience as an intern at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

  • Mark Stryker

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    During the period of internship at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (March, 1982 - January 1983), I had the opportunity to work on paintings from the 20th, 19th/ 18th, and 17th centuries. Some of the paintings were privately owned, and usually arrived at the Gallery in much worse condition than any of the Gallery’s paintings, therefore I had the chance to carry out major treatments as well as the routine minor treatments associated with the maintenance of a collection. The atmosphere at the Gallery conservation facility is a healthy one. The laboratory supports five fulltime conservators (Alan Lloyd, Peter Gill, Gill McMillan, Susie Bioletti, and Ranson Davies). All the members of staff were willing participants in helping and advising me during my period of internship. The contact with so many points of view and attitudes was instrumental in maintaining a positive and constructive attitude toward the profession. Cathy Lillico (conservator for the Regional Galleries) and Anne Gaulton were also working in the laboratory during my period of internship. Both took an active interest in my work at the Gallery. The work emphasis at the Gallery was placed on practical experience with paintings conservation, and a wide range of techniques and attitudes were considered and implemented. The period was also an opportunity to become involved in other aspects of conservation work apart from treatments. The transport, display, lighting, packaging and handling of paintings are important responsibilities for conservation staff, and I participated in them whenever possible. The routine examination of the Gallery collection and monitoring the light and temperature fluctuations within the Gallery environment were also part of my duties. The exposure also gave me the opportunity to answer public telephone enquiries and participate in advising the public on conservation during the Thursday morning open house, when the public is allowed to bring their works into the Gallery for advice from curatorial and conservation staff. I consider it a valuable and worthwhile exposure to the workings of a major institution. The Gallery conservation facilities include a studio and darkroom that are well equipped for conservation photography. I chose to take advantage of those facilities to improve my standard of photography and increase my understanding of the application of photography to the examination of paintings. The Gallery was very generous to allow me the use of film materials during my period of internship. All the plates and slides in this presentation were photographed, developed, and printed by myself, with the exception of colour processing, using the conservation department facilities. Internships are not a tradition within the Art Gallery Conservation Department. Because of this, there is not an established program or itinerary for interns to follow. I am grateful to the entire staff of the conservation department, especially Alan Lloyd, for their support and encouragement in shaping an interesting and rewarding internship. I hope the opportunity will be made available to others who wish to pursue the profession of conservation. Some of the material presented in this dissertation is included for my own reference. This includes the TABLES 1-4 and some of the basic information under the conservation photography section dealing with normal and raking light illumination techniques.
    Date of Award1983
    Original languageEnglish

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