Painting Pairs: Art History and Technical Study - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Painting Pairs: Art History and Technical Study

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Painting Pairs

Art History and Technical Study


‘Painting Pairs: Art History and Technical Study’ is a research opportunity for graduate students enrolled in the MA in the History of Art, MA in Curating the Art Museum and the PhD programme. It is supported by the Sackler Research Forum, the Courtauld Gallery and the Department of Conservation and Technology. Selected students are given the opportunity to form a research partnership with future conservators from the postgraduate diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings.

Each pairing explores the contribution technical study can make to art historical scholarship (and vice versa) through research on a painting undergoing analysis or treatment in the Department of Conservation and Technology. The paintings are drawn from private and public collections, including the Courtauld Gallery. Past studies include: Portrait of Cardinal Granvelle by Scipione Pulzone, Toilet of Venus, circle of Veronese, Peter Lely’s Cimon and Iphigenia, Portrait of Francis Beaumont by an unknown 17th century artist, Carnival Scene at the Convent by an unknown 18th –century artist, and an examination of a 17th century copy of Raphael’s Holy Family.

Valuable experience is gained in the challenges and rewards of inter-disciplinary collaboration, which, although more familiar within a museum context, is becoming increasingly part of academic practice. Indeed, ‘Painting Pairs’ is at the forefront of initiatives that increase the links between technical and art historical enquiry and broaden the ways in which technical study can be applied.

Research is self-directed and a high degree of professionalism is expected. This is reflected in the fact that each participant receives an honorarium, with additional funds available if a study trip becomes necessary. Each pairing is required to set out their research questions at a workshop held in the Sackler Research Forum at the beginning of the spring term, and to present findings at a second workshop later in the year. Wider access to this research is enabled by the posting of a project report (submitted a week after the final presentation) on the Courtauld website. These collaborations can also lead to publications in peer-reviewed journals and the public display of paintings once confined to the storeroom.

2019-20 reports

Portrait of the Artist’s Wife by Albert Braïtou-Sala

16th century Spanish Panel Saint Blaise by Unknown Artist

Westwood Manor House and Church in a Landscape with Two Rustic Figures

The Rediscovery of a lost Vorticist work by Helen Saunders

2018-19 reports

A group of sketches from life, attributed to William Etty

Infanta Isabella, attributed to the workshop of van Dyck

Interior Scene, attributed to an unknown artist (after Harold Gilman)

Man of Sorrows, attributed to an unknown 16th c. artist

Sorrowful Women, by Annie Walke

2017-18 reports

Portrait of a Lady (1608), attributed to Robert Peake the Elder

Standing Female Nude / Landscape with Mountain Bridge (c.1910), attributed to Dora Carrington 

Still life with Bust (1936), by Mark Gertler

Susannah Fanshawe (c. 1750), by an unknown eighteenth-century artist

Burns Grace (c.1910), by Henry John Dobson

2016-17 reports

 An Examination of La Ferme de la Californie, Attributed to Eugène Boudin

 Figures in a Landscape-Flemish Panel Painting attributed to Valckenborch

Making and Meaning-An examination of Two Figures by Albert Adams c.1990

 Workshop of Andrea Vicentino-The Raising of Lazarus. c. 1590


Previous reports

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