BAPCR Conference 2020: ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ in Conservation

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Friday, 31 January, 2020
Wednesday, 1 May, 2019

The Wallace Collection, London

Deadline for abstract submissions: 1st May 2019

The BAPCR (British Association of Paintings Conservator-Restorers) is pleased to announce the call for papers for their forthcoming conference in January 2020: ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ in Conservation.

It is not unusual, in the course of conservation, for new and unexpected discoveries about a painting to be made, sometimes uncovering material aspects which are atypical to an artist or period. The conservator, by virtue of his/her experience and prolonged proximity to the painting, is ideally placed to make this kind of observation. It could be the case of an unorthodox support or priming, or the surprising use of a pigment, medium, or coating. Or, it may become apparent that a painting has been compromised by non-original materials, coatings or additions applied by an earlier conservator/restorer. Some discoveries have significant art historical and ethical implications, whilst also presenting considerable conservation challenges.

Technical analysis frequently plays an important role in these situations, especially in a museum setting. Imaging techniques, and most recently scanning XRF mapping, might help to reveal and explain the presence of unexpected layers, or reveal changes in composition and artists’ reworkings. Scientific analysis can likewise help to characterise the materials involved and inform conservation treatments.

Conservation treatments (strategies, materials and equipment) might need to be refined, or completely rethought, in the light of discoveries about unusual materials or a previous restoration. Collaboration with art historians, heritage professionals, stakeholders or even the artists themselves may be invaluable in arriving at appropriate ethical decisions.

The BAPCR welcome abstracts for papers on the theme of ‘the unexpected’ in conservation. The BAPCR is interested in papers that detail practical strategies, explore the role of technical analysis or discuss related art historical and ethical issues. This could encompass paintings from any period or country of origin.

It is envisaged that a series of 15 minute talks will supplement longer 25 minute papers, to provide opportunities to present short case studies of treatments for example. Submissions for both formats are therefore encouraged.

Submission Details:
Please submit abstracts of 400 words or less, for consideration by the Selection Panel, to the BAPCR secretary Gemma Collins ( by the 1st May 2019.
Please specify the intended talk length (either 15 or 25 minutes). Include the title, author's name(s), professional titles, affiliations, and an author biography of no more than 250 words. In the case of multiple authors please list all authors and include an email address for each, indicating corresponding author.
Only one submission by the same primary author will be considered.
Please note that the BAPCR will publish a post-print of submitted papers; speakers will be asked to produce first drafts by March 2020.