Ms. Chloe Head

Ms. Chloe Head

Conservation treatment of The Sword of Damocles by Antoine Dubost at the CSMVS museum in Mumbai, India.

Final year post graduate diploma student of the conservation of easel paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London

At the CSMVS I learnt a great deal from the experienced and talented conservators working in the museum. Working in an environment where the high level of humidity could compromise treatments was complex. We relished the challenge of finding alternative techniques or methods due to the unavailability of conservation materials. Our role was in providing a visual knowledge and art historical context to the aesthetic treatment of this important piece of Western art, ensuring the treatment decisions were visually sympathetic to the context of the work. We were also able to introduce new techniques to the department such as gelled cleaning systems. We visited Mehrangarh Fort conservation studio and took part in a workshop at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in Delhi on the Bruker portable XRF for the elemental analysis of works of art.

My experience at the CSMVS has inspired me to seek out complex and large scale projects and I hope to continue to undertake challenges like this throughout my career. It has been fascinating to see conservation outside of the context of the UK. Overcoming the challenges faced during the project has greatly increased my confidence as a conservator.

The painting is not only a vital part of the CSMVS European art collection but an important masterpiece. As part of a fairly small number of extant paintings by the artist the preservation and study of this painting is vital. Information from the treatment and from the rich technical investigation of the painting is expected to result in publication but this is unlikely to occur until the treatment has been fully completed.