We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Conservation

Paintings Conservator Simon Ives and Frames Conservator Grace Barrand at work on The five senses 1670s by Carlo Cignani and workshop. Project supported by Manny and Gail Pohl.

Paintings conservator Simon Ives and frames conservator Grace Barrand at work on The five senses 1670s by Carlo Cignani and Workshop in a project supported by Manny and Gail Pohl

Support conservation programs, research and projects by joining the Conservation Benefactors

The Conservation Benefactors raise funds for research and conservation projects on the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ collection and the purchase of new conservation equipment that we could not otherwise undertake or afford.

In addition to the acknowledgements extended to all Foundation members, you’ll be invited to three to four fundraising events a year held by Conservation Benefactors, such as private and corporate collection viewings and exhibition-related events at the Art Gallery.

Paintings Conservator Simon Ives investigates King Henry VIII prior to treatment. Project supported by the Conservation Benefactors.

Paintings conservator Simon Ives investigates the Art Gallery’s King Henry VIII portrait prior to treatment, in a project supported by the Conservation Benefactors

Artist Michael Johnson’s Anna, 1965, photographed after conservation treatment in 2020. Project supported by the Patrick White Bequest Fund.

Michael Johnson Anna 1965, photographed after conservation treatment in 2020, in a project supported by the Patrick White Bequest Fund

Paintings Conservator Andrea Nottage treats WC Piguenit’s The flood in the Darling, 1890/1895. Project supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project.

Paintings conservator Andrea Nottage treats WC Piguenit The flood in the Darling 1890 1895, supported by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project

Scaffolding set-up for the treatment of 1923 bronze sculpture The Offerings of War by Gilbert Bayes. Project supported by the Minister’s Stone Program.

Scaffolding set-up for the treatment of 1923 bronze sculpture The offerings of War by Gilbert Bayes, in a project supported by the Minister’s Stone Program

Surface discolouration from an iron bolt within the Gilbert Bayes 1923 bronze sculpture The Offerings of War. Project supported by the Minister’s Stone Program.

Surface discolouration from an iron bolt within the Gilbert Bayes’ 1923 bronze sculpture The Offerings of War, in a project supported by the Minister’s Stone Program

Objects Conservator Melanie Barrett has begun the treatment of an important and diverse group of 45 maquettes by significant Australian sculptor Margel Hinder. Project supported by the Conservation Benefactors.

Objects conservator Melanie Barrett has begun the treatment of 45 maquettes by Australian sculptor Margel Hinder in a project supported by the Conservation Benefactors

X-ray of a neck ornament by the Baruya people. Made from plant fibre string, split seedpods (Canarium indicum), bone, pig tails, and 12 marsupial scrotums. Project supported by the Conservation Benefactors.

X-ray of a neck ornament by the Baruya people, in a conservation project supported by the Conservation Benefactors

David Butler and Tom Langlands in David’s studio with the frame they made for The prospector by Julian Ashton, 1889. Tom’s traineeship supported by the Clitheroe Foundation and the Nelson Meers Foundation.

David Butler and Tom Langlands making a frame for Julian Ashton's 1889 painting The prospector. Tom’s frame-making traineeship was supported by the Clitheroe Foundation and the Nelson Meers Foundation

Margaret Sawicki, Head of Frames Conservation, and senior frames conservator Basia Dabrowa work on ornate gilded frames for the Victorian Watercolours exhibition.

Margaret Sawicki, head of frames conservation, and senior frames conservator Basia Dabrowa work on ornate gilded frames for the Victorian Watercolours exhibition

A landscape painting of a body of water among green peaks, within an ornate gold frame.

John Webber A view in Otaheite Pehan 1785 after conservation treatment of the painting and frame, in a project supported by the Conservation Benefactors

Kerry Head, AGNSW senior objects conservator, and Yin Cao, AGNSW curator of Chinese art, during an online knowledge exchange on the specialist areas of lacquerware and textiles with staff from the Palace Museum in Beijing. Project supported by Bank of China.

Senior objects conservator Kerry Head and curator of Chinese art Yin Cao during an online knowledge exchange with staff from the Palace Museum in Beijing, in a project supported by Bank of China

Colour music c1934 by Roy de Maistre, gouache on piano roll, is examined using XRF by Senior Paper Conservator Analiese Treacy. Project supported by Friends of Conservation.

Senior paper conservator Analiese Treacy examines Roy de Maistre Colour music c1934 using XRF, in a project supported by Friends of Conservation

A large-scale poster by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec receives a wash in the paper conservation lab. Project supported by the Conservation Benefactors.

A poster by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec receives a wash in the paper conservation lab, in a project supported by the Conservation Benefactors

Lloyd Rees’ sketchbooks were conserved and rehoused. Project supported by Patricia James.

Lloyd Rees’ sketchbooks were conserved and rehoused, in a project supported by Patricia James

The symposium and workshop Towards a flexible future: managing time-based media artworks in collections, brought together staff from AGNSW, Tate and SLNSW, local artists and independent contributors. Supported by the Gordon Darling Foundation, Sofitel and EY.

Towards a flexible future: managing time-based media artworks in collections was a symposium and workshop supported by the Gordon Darling Foundation, Sofitel and EY

Conservation during the COVID-19 Lockdown. Audio Visual Operator Charles Lawler records the cleaning of Arthur Streeton's 1894 painting The Gloucester Buckets. Supported by Peter and Judy Howarth and the AGNSW Conservation Benefactors. Sidney Nolan’s Self Portrait, 1943, is seen at left.

Charles Lawler records the cleaning of Arthur Streeton's 1894 painting The Gloucester Buckets in a project supported by Peter and Judy Howarth and the Conservation Benefactors

A three-year scientific postgraduate position within the Conservation Department researching the use of enamel house paint by Sidney Nolan. Supported by Friends of Conservation in partnership with an Australian Research Council project ‘The twentieth century in paint’.

Materials used by Sidney Nolan, now in the Art Gallery's holdings. The Friends of Conservation in partnership with an Australian Research Council supported a three-year postgraduate position researching Nolan's use of enamel house paint

  • Recent projects

    Recent conservation projects funded through the Foundation include:

    • The Five Senses, 1670s, by Carlo Cignani and workshop. One of the Gallery’s most important old masters is back on display in the grand courts following an extensive conservation treatment of both the painting and its magnificent frame. Supported by Manny and Gail Pohl. Read more about the project

    • restoration of the gallery’s mysterious 16th-century portrait King Henry VIII. Supported by the Conservation Benefactors most notably, Dorothy R Spry (in memory of), Hamish Parker, Leonard Groat and Kenneth Reed AM. Read more about the project

    • the extensive conservation treatment of large-scale painting Anna, 1965, by artist Michael Johnson. Supported by the Patrick White Bequest Fund. Read more about the project

    • The Offerings of Warand The Offerings of Peace, 1923,were created by English sculptor Gilbert Bayes. These two familiar figures on horseback received some much-needed conservation treatment. Supported by the Minister’s Stone Program. Read more about the project

    • conservation of massive one-tonne sculpture Flippant flurry, 1979. The work by Clement Meadmore – one of Australia’s most important and highest profile sculptors – was made structurally stable, rust was removed, and a black satin finish applied. Read more about this Macquarie Group supported project: Part I and Part II.  

    • conservation treatment of an important and diverse group of 45 maquettes by significant Australian sculptor Margel Hinder. These works provide a fascinating insight into the sculptural thinking of one of Australia's most significant modernist artists. Supported by the Conservation Benefactors.  

    • assessment and conservation of key works of the Gallery’s Pacific Art collection for the Plumes and Pearlshells exhibition including this neck ornament made by the Baruya people made from twelve scrotum of marsupial tree-dwellers. Read more about this Conservation Benefactors funded project

    • a three-year traineeship in reproduction decorative frame-making between Master Reproduction Frame Maker David Butler and AGNSWs Tom Langlands (2013-2017). Supported by the Clitheroe Foundation and the Nelson Meers Foundation. Read more about the traineeship

    • the Victorian Watercolours exhibition was the subject of an extensive conservation project that received significant support from the Women’s Art Group and several conservation benefactors. With almost ninety works going on display and even more included in the catalogue, this project involved treatment of the watercolours and their ornate gilded frames as well as the creation of new historically accurate reproduction frames for a small group of key works. 

    • A view of Otaheite Pehan is a Tahitian landscape by British painter John Webber (1751–1793). For many years, we’ve been unable to exhibit the Gallery’s only painting by an artist of Captain James Cook’s last voyage to the Pacific due to the poor condition of both the painting and frame. Read more about this Conservation Benefactors funded project

    • Colour music by Roy de Maistre, c1934, gouache on piano roll. Major treatment included XRF analysis of pigments, paper tear repairs and reversible inpainting to reduce the visual impact of areas of paint loss. Supported by Friends of Conservation. Read more about the project.  

    • preserving six of the late-1800s posters by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. As many of the works were large in format and required re-lining, a combination of Western and Asian lining techniques was employed. Read more about this Conservation Benefactors funded project

    • treatment and rehousing of sketchbooks by Lloyd Rees. This multi-stage project was supported in 2014 by Patricia James, and in 2011 and 2012 by the Friends of Conservation. 

    • Towards a flexible future: managing time-based media artworks in collections, an AGNSW organised and hosted symposium and workshop, bringing together staff from AGNSW, Tate and SLNSW, local artists and independent contributors. Supported by the Gordon Darling Foundation, Sofitel and EY. AGNSW has received support for its ground-breaking work in time-based art conservation from Conservation Benefactors, the Women’s Art Group and Geoff Ainsworth. 

    • the conservation of Arthur Streeton's 1894 painting The Gloucester Buckets and its frame was undertaken during the COVID-19 lockdown. Supported by Peter and Judy Howarth and AGNSW Conservation Benefactors. Two hours of treatment was filmed daily and progressively uploaded to YouTube. 

    • a three-year scientific postgraduate position within the Conservation Department researching the use of enamel house paint by Sidney Nolan. Supported by Friends of Conservation in partnership with an Australian Research Council project ‘The twentieth century in paint’. Read more about this research in Sidney Nolan: The Artist’s Materials written by Head of Paintings Conservation, Paula Dredge. 

  • Corporate supporters

    Corporate sponsors also support conservation projects such as:

    • Bank of America Merrill Lynch Art Conservation Project: conservation treatment of WC Piguenit’s The flood in the Darling 1890/1895, which needed cleaning and repairs to the canvas, and a major frame restoration. Read more about the project

    • BNP Paribas Bank: treatment of Frans Snyders’ painting The boar hunt, c1650s, and its frame, which uncovered the original 17th-century composition under an early restoration. 

    • Hyperion Asset Management: conservation treatment of the William Strutt painting David’s first victory, 1868, and the making of a new reproduction frame.

    • Bank of China: senior practitioners from the Palace Museum shared their scientific expertise with AGNSW staff in the specialist areas of lacquerware and textiles. Originally, this professional exchange with our Palace Museum colleagues was to happen in person, until the global COVID-19 pandemic intervened. Read more about the project.