Conservation Studio February

Blog Three | Exhibition Development

Hello! It’s been a while since my last blog, and I have lots to tell you!

I am currently working on interpretation panels, which consist of art labels and my introductory panel for the gallery space for the upcoming exhibition Awaken, The Argyll Collection, which will take place at Dunoon Burgh Hall in April. I say ‘beast’ because you must follow a surprising number of rules to create a successful interpretation.

I have enjoyed delving into the research and learning more about the artists! My favourite aspect, however, has been writing my own interpretations of the artwork. I am excited to see if you will share the same ideas and views surrounding the collection as I have.

On other topics, I have been on various trips with research manager Kirsty MacNab and project manager Ros McKenna. Our first trip took place in February when we visited Glasgow-based art conservator Sylvia Krauss. This was a great experience, as I got to see a few of the African artworks from The Argyll Collection in person! I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr Kate Crowcher, Art History lecturer at The University of St Andrews, along with Prof. Christina Young, Professor of Conservation and Technical Art History at the University of Glasgow, who both helped select a new frame for one of the artworks! Everyone involved agreed that we wanted to keep the 1960s theme by choosing a more woody frame (the previous one was more of a modern, black frame and did not work well with the artwork). During our time in Glasgow, we also decided to visit The Hunterian Gallery’s new exhibition, ‘The Trembling Museum’. I enjoyed getting the chance to look at the setup of another exhibition and the interpretation provided.

Our next endeavour took place towards the end of February when Kirsty, Ros and I visited Hermitage Academy, Helensburgh, to condition-check artworks. Ros and Kirsty guided me through the process of checking the artwork and updating the information in the catalogue. This included the dimensions of the art (framed and unframed), any labels on the back, signatures and finally, general condition analysis. I found the whole process really fascinating - especially checking for any signatures/inscriptions and the condition of the individual pieces. While we were at Hermitage, I was also able to pick up a couple of the artworks that will be displayed in Awaken. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of colour and detail in ‘Velvet Cherries’ by Bel Cowie. The cherries are a much more reddish-toned colour, not black at all! It was great to see these works in person, as you can’t fully appreciate them in the images online.

I have also really enjoyed my trips to Dunoon Grammar School. I have now been up there twice to help direct art workshops with the art teachers - Mrs Neish and Mrs Finlay. The artwork produced by the students will also be displayed during Awkaen in April! For the first session, I worked with Mrs Neish and her 3rd years to create lino prints inspired by the artwork ‘June Hedgerow’ by Caroline Hemming. The pupils all worked really well, getting right into it! It was lovely to collect the finished works and see how they had all got on. My last workshop was with Mrs Finlay and her 2nd years, where we made 3D paper flowers, which I will later add essential oils to in order to create a sense of smell.

Anyway, that’s all the fun stuff I have to catch you up on for now!

Thanks for reading,

L.J. Vaughan