January 1995 Issue 14
RCA/ V&A new students for the academic year 1994/95
Customarily, we would introduce our new students as early as possible after they join the Course. The devotion of Issue No. 13 of this Journal to an overview of the Department and its new structure has caused some delay. However, better late than never, and without further comment...
Stained Glass Conservation
(3 year MA)
Age 22, Kenyan/American
BA Studio Arts, Scripps College (1993)
By the time she graduates from Scripps College, Ariana had decided that the medium that most captivated her was glass. She knew that she wanted to pursue a profession in the arts but had not yet found a career to suit her needs. Immediately after graduation, she began an internship at the J. Paul Getty Museum with the Department of Antiquities Conservation under the auspices of the 'Multicultural Undergraduate Internship Program'. It was there that she was introduced to methods of conservation and computer documentation. By the end of the summer, she had decided that conservation was her ideal profession. Upon the completion of her internship, she began to seek schools through which she could attain a Master's degree in conservation. The attraction of the RCA/V&A Course is that it offers the only possibility of specialising in stained glass. She hopes, however, to combine the benefits of new technologies with the traditional techniques of making and conservation. Specifically, she intends to study the use of computer imaging to enhance certain aspects of stained glass as it responds to different natural light conditions.
Ariana has been funded for the first year of her course by the Getty Grant Programme. Her principal supervisor will be Agnes Holden, Head of the Inorganics Group and of the V&A Stained Glass Studio.
Conservation Science (Identification of Materials)
(3 year MA)
Age 24, British
BSc (Hons) Biological Science, Bristol University (1991)
Following her degree, Hannah spent 3 years working as a research assistant in the Entomology Department of the Natural History Museum. There she was engaged in a project studying the Phytoseiidae, a family of predatory mites which are commercially used for biological control of pest spider mites. The MA in conservation provides an ideal way of combining her interests in the sciences and arts. Her work at the NHM placed a high emphasis on the accurate identification of microscopic specimens, a skill she looks forward to applying in the context of conservation. She is keen to gain vocational expertise which will contribute to the conservation and preservation of the V&A collections.
Hannah's principal supervisor will be Josephine Darrah, senior scientist in the V&A Science Group and primarily responsible for the analytical work on Museum objects and materials.
Architectural Paint Studies
(2 year MA in collaboration with English Heritage)
Age 32, Canadian/ American
BA Art History, Queen's University, Canada (1979); MSc Architecture, University College London (1986); AA Dip. Cons., Architectural Association, London (1987)
After receiving her first degree in Canada in Art History and a spell in France, Lisa studied in England at the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Architectural Association in the History of Architecture and Building Conservation. At that time no similar courses were available in Canada. In the following 8 years she worked in the field of building conservation in both the public and private sectors in London. She developed a strong interest in historic interiors and, during her work at St. Pancras Chambers, began to appreciate the need for sophisticated analytical techniques to investigate the many overlapping layers of painted decoration within the building. This led to time at UCL Painting Analysis, a small company specialising in this discipline. Wanting to continue studies in this field proved difficult as no formal training existed prior to the introduction of this collaboration between the RCA/V&A Course and English Heritage. Leaving her position at Westminster City Council as Senior Conservation Officer, she looks forward to pursuing architectural paint studies full-time.
Lisa's principal supervisor will be Helen Hughes of the Architectural Paint Research Unit at English Heritage. For the practical aspects of her work she will be based partly in the EH laboratory at Regent's Park and will partly work on site in EH projects.
(3 year M4 in collaboration with the Horniman Museum)
Age 37, British
HND Musical Instrument Technology, London Guildhall University (1991)
Andrew terminated a mixed career in military and public service in 1986 in order to study music technology. Majoring in woodwind design, manufacture and repair, he completed an OND and then went on to HND. During a sabbatical year as Student Union President, he was also employed as a consultant musicologist for the Mechanical Copyright Protection Society on their 'Audiofile' database project and catalogued the Sound Archive of the National Army Museum. In February 1992, Andrew was employed by the Horniman Museum as a conservator of musical instruments in preparation for the opening of the Music Room exhibition. This work, together with the work of the Musical Collections Forum and CIMCIM (ICOM working group for musical instruments) has led Andrew to a full appreciation of the conservation needs of musical collections. Hopefully, the combination of the Course and the Horniman Conservation Department will provide him with the optimum environment for the full-time specialist study of Musical Instrument Conservation.
Andrew's principal supervisor will be Diana O'Sullivan, Acting Head of Conservation at the Horniman Museum. We are hoping he will also be able to spend some time in the Furniture Conservation Studios at the V&A.
Applications of Holographic Interferometry in Conservation (2 year MPhil in collaboration with RCA Holography)
Age 24, Greek
Honours Degree in Physics, Aristotle's University of Thessaloniki (1993)
Konstandia developed her interest in holography and interferometry during her physics degree and applied for the Course in 1993 with this area of research in mind. At this stage, however, she had little practical experience of the techniques involved. To put this right she spent several months in the RCA Holography Department as a Post-Experience Programme (PEP) student and reapplied for entry in 1994. She also used this time to get to know Conservation staff and to begin to address conservation problems. Towards the end of the period, she did some very fruitful experiments using interferometry to assess the performance of a variety of mounting methods for parchment manuscript pages. Now registered for MPhil, Konstandia is preparing her formal research proposal which will include a thorough review of conservation research involving holography to date and set out the areas of investigation she feels are likely to lead to practical benefits for the conservator.
Konstandia is jointly supervised by Rod Murray (RCA Holography) and Alan Cummings (RCA/V&A Conservation Course). We are hopeful that Dr. Robin Smith of ICSTM Applied Optics Group will also take a keen interest in her research.
Mounts and Frames in British Photographic Exhibitions, 1851 - 1968
(2 year MPhil by Thesis)
Age 32, Polish
HND in Paper Conservation (Library & Archives - Photographs), Camberwell College of Art, 1989
Following her time at Camberwell, where she had already developed a specialist interest in historic photographs, Magda was awarded a Conservation Unit Internship to extend her experience in this discipline at the V&A for 12 months. She went on to be conservator of Photographic Materials at Hutton Deutsch Collection Ltd. before setting up her own studio for photographic conservation. Since 1991, she has continued to work for both public institutions and private collectors.
In her conservation practice, she became increasingly aware of how important the method of display is to our perception of a photograph and increasingly concerned about how few original mounts and frames have survived the attentions of collector, conservator, curator and exhibition designer. She aims in her thesis to address this issue through documentary research on important exhibitions of photographs, examination of photographs with surviving original mounts and frames and by interviewing living photographers and curators.
Magda is jointly supervised by Elizabeth Martin (V&A Conservator of Photographic Materials) and Mark Haworth-Booth (Curator of the V&A's Photographic Collections).
Upholstery Techniques and Materials used in 20th Century Furniture
(MPhil by Thesis, part-time, 4 years)
Age 46, British
Certificate in Furniture Design & Technology, London college of furniture, 1975
Cert. Ed., Thames Polytechnic, 1991
Heather has been a practising upholsterer since 1975 and has worked for many private and public clients including the V&A, English Heritage and the Museum of Art in Philadelphia. Since 1989 she has been Senior Lecturer in Upholstery Studies at the London College of Furniture, now London Guildhall University.
In her research she proposes 'to investigate the correlation between upholstery technology and design, in the context of volume manufacture and new materials, and the consequent implications for conservation and restoration, through archival research and oral history'. Her interest in this area and the importance of her proposed research springs from the almost complete lack of hard technical information about the development, adaptation (and abandonment) of traditional upholstery techniques in 20th century furniture.
Heather is jointly supervised by Alan Cummings (RCA/V&A Conservation Course), Floris van den Broeke (RCA Furniture) and Christopher Wilk (V&A Furniture & Woodwork Collections).
Timber in English 18th Century Furniture
(PhD, part-time, 4 years)
Age 28, British
HND, Restoration and Conservation of Furniture, London College of Furniture, 1988
MA (RCA), History of Design, V&A/RCA Joint Course in History of Design, 1990
John was offered a PhD place on the Course in 1993 but failed to find funding. He was offered a lecturing post at London Guildhall University and now, with the support of his employers, is able to take up part-time research towards PhD.
In his second year of the History of Design Course, he wrote his thesis on the import and distribution of timbers during the 18th century, during which a fundamental change occurred in the type of timbers available to the furniture maker. In his PhD he proposes to extend this area of research, particularly by looking more closely at the furniture itself, studying collections both in the V&A and elsewhere, to assess to what extent the availability of these new timbers affected design and construction.
John will be jointly supervised by Nick Umney (V&A Furniture Conservation) and John Styles (V&A/RCA History of Design).