Conservation department

Conservation plays a fundamental role in the physical care of the collection, ensuring that it is available for current and future generations to enjoy. In the care and treatment of the artworks the conservation team adhere to the highest international standards, working to minimize intervention and promote longevity, all the while respecting the integrity of each piece. In the execution of their duties the conservators work closely with their colleagues in photography and curatorial.

Working on various conservation projects in the studio. © National Gallery of Ireland

Paintings conservation

Oversees the conservation of a wide-ranging collection and is committed to furthering the knowledge and understanding of works of art in its care. In collaboration with curators, painting conservators examine the structure of individual paintings, and research artists' materials and methods, as well as techniques and materials used in conservation treatments. This interdisciplinary approach not only provides invaluable information on artists' original intent, but can also help reveal an artist’s process and provide insight into how conservation treatments can affect the structure and appearance of artworks.

While examination of materials and methodologies is crucial in informing treatments, preventive conservation also plays a fundamental role in the preservation of the collection.  Long-term care is provided for the collection through the establishment of environmental standards for works on display, in storage or travelling to other institutions. 

Paper conservation

Working with the Prints and Drawings Curator's to care for a collection of over 11,000 works on paper and miniatures in the Gallery to ensure their long-term safety and integrity. They also work with the Library and Archives Department to care for the variety of paper based items held in these collections. As they are responsibile for such fragile items, paper conservators undertake analytical studies and research on the materials and techniques that are found in works on paper.

Conservation work on Harry Clarke's The Mother of Sorrows. © National Gallery of Ireland