Hello! You might have seen me carrying paintings around the museum, my name is Lito Angelaki and I am the new HLF & ICON Paintings Conservation Intern.
I am originally from Greece, but I have trained in the United Kingdom, firstly in Fine Art and subsequently in Conservation, with a specialisation in easel paintings. I received my Master’s degree in Conservation of Fine Art from Northumbria University, shortly before the start of this internship.
My interest in paintings started from a young age during museum visits. I was fascinated by the physicality of paint and looked for a way that would enable me to get closer than the public is ever allowed to. The answer, I soon discovered, lied in paintings conservation and my journey began with a short internship at the conservation department of the National Gallery of Athens. There, I was introduced to painting treatments and materials, as well as the ethics of the profession.
Since then, I have had placements in the North East of England at the paintings conservation studio of the Laing Art Gallery and at Seaton Delaval Hall (National Trust). This allowed me to gain experience while at university, with both interventive and preventive conservation practice.
The HLF Skills for the Future funded ICON internship at the Bowes Museum couldn’t have come at a better time, being a recent graduate with degrees on my hands but no ‘real life’ working experience. Now I have a year to develop my skills, working alongside the Senior Paintings Conservator, Jon Old.
Mainly based in the conservation studio, I am working on the diverse collection of European paintings acquired by the founders of the museum, as well as privately owned paintings that come in for treatment. However, my role as a conservation intern in the museum doesn’t stop there. It includes preparing and condition checking paintings for loans or display and collaborating with the Exhibition Team, storing, transporting and installing paintings.
Currently, I am also taking part in the preventive conservation Deep Clean Programme, cleaning and carrying out a condition survey of the paintings collection located on the first floor of the museum. The Deep Clean will last until April, during which rooms on the first floor are open to the public, so feel free to come in and have a look at what we are doing!
I am excited for the opportunity to gain valuable experience doing what I love in such a wonderful setting; not many people can claim they work in a 19th century French château in Britain!