Camille Polkownik

2019 QEST Britford Bridge Trust Scholar - Structural Conservation of Easel Paintings

Camille is a paintings conservator interested in the structural conservation of canvas supports. She also works on the paint layer and particularly enjoys the cleaning of painted surfaces. Currently, structural conservation is not extensively taught in conservation courses. In the past, people would learn during an apprenticeship with a master, but this is not necessarily possible nowadays. Camille has created her own training plan, and QEST is supporting the refining of her knowledge and manual skills in this niche speciality.

She will do six placements in museums and private studios, with structural experts in the UK, France, Italy and the Netherlands and hopes to put these skills into practice with national collections across the UK, and pass on her knowledge through teaching.

I have always been fascinated by paintings: isn’t it intriguing how beautiful images can be produced out of vegetable oil and coloured powders? Being a paintings conservator means I get to work on these works of art, be a bit closer to the artist and what they tried to get across. I don’t often work on masterpieces, and it’s a treat when I get one. Equally, working on a painting emotionally significant to its owner, such as a painting reminiscent of one’s childhood or a portrait of a close family member, is very rewarding.