Conserving art for the future

PUBLISHED: 16:11 16 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:31 20 February 2013

Laura Mills at work

Laura Mills at work

Easel paintings conservator Laura Mills from Cirencester has won a £9,000 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship. Laura's particular love is modern painting and her scholarship means she can undertake a 20-month internship in the Conservation Department...

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) was endowed by the Royal Warrant Holders' Association to advance education in modern and traditional crafts and trades in the UK. Scholarships, open to men and women of all ages, are awarded twice a year. Since 1991 the Trust has made cash awards worth over £1,215,000 to 191 craftsmen and women aged 17-plus to develop their skills. This summer eight awards were made totaling £52,030.


Twenty-five-year-old Laura graduated in History of Art from University College London before undertaking a three-year Postgraduate Diploma in conservation of Easel Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art which she successfully completed in July. During the course she worked on paintings dating from the 13th to the 20th century, and spent three months working in Amsterdam's Instituut Collectie Nederlands. This summer she returns to Amsterdam to work in the Stedelijk Museum, one of the world's most innovative museums of modern art. Here she will carry out practical conservation of a painting by Willem de Kooning (1904-1997).


Laura is passionate about conserving modern works of art, and winning a QEST Scholarship means she can spend three days a week for 20 months working in Tate's Conservation department.


She explains, "Tate has offered me the unique opportunity to undertake an internship, specializing in conserving modern and contemporary paintings. Because Tate has the national collection of international modern art and an extensive collection of modern British art which are shown at its four display sites, I will gain invaluable experience. I will be working within a museum environment where I can learn about aspects of conservation which I did not have access to within an academic framework. I will hone my knowledge and skills in the specialist fields of treatment, exhibition, display and loan of modern and contemporary works. I will rotate to different areas including dealing with works entering the collection, works going out and works going on display. I will also gain experience in looking at hundreds of paintings which are loaned to Tate for their exhibitions."


Laura's ambition is to become a practical conservator of modern and contemporary paintings. "This is a new area of specialisation within the conservation profession. I find it fulfilling to use my specialist skills and judgment in preserving and exhibiting works of art. It is an extremely rewarding profession to be involved in, particularly as my work benefits the public. I want to ensure as many people as possible enjoy viewing contemporary works of art for generations to come, thanks to the practical care and restoration of modern paintings."


QEST, the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, was established in 1990 with money contributed by its members, to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Association. The trustees look for well thought out projects, which will contribute to the pool of talent in the UK and reflect the excellence of British craftsmanship as symbolised by the Royal Warrant of Appointment.


Application forms for QEST Scholarships can also be downloaded from the QEST website: www.qest.org.uk They may also be obtained by sending an SAE (56p) to: The Secretary, The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, No.1 Buckingham Place, London SW1E 6HR. Closing date for applications for the next round of QEST Scholarships is 9 January 2009.


Easel paintings conservator Laura Mills from Cirencester has won a £9,000 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship. Laura's particular love is modern painting and her scholarship means she can undertake a 20-month internship in the Conservation Department of the Tate - Britain's leading contemporary art gallery.


The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) was endowed by the Royal Warrant Holders' Association to advance education in modern and traditional crafts and trades in the UK. Scholarships, open to men and women of all ages, are awarded twice a year. Since 1991 the Trust has made cash awards worth over £1,215,000 to 191 craftsmen and women aged 17-plus to develop their skills. This summer eight awards were made totaling £52,030.


Twenty-five-year-old Laura graduated in History of Art from University College London before undertaking a three-year Postgraduate Diploma in conservation of Easel Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art which she successfully completed in July. During the course she worked on paintings dating from the 13th to the 20th century, and spent three months working in Amsterdam's Instituut Collectie Nederlands. This summer she returns to Amsterdam to work in the Stedelijk Museum, one of the world's most innovative museums of modern art. Here she will carry out practical conservation of a painting by Willem de Kooning (1904-1997).


Laura is passionate about conserving modern works of art, and winning a QEST Scholarship means she can spend three days a week for 20 months working in Tate's Conservation department.


She explains, "Tate has offered me the unique opportunity to undertake an internship, specializing in conserving modern and contemporary paintings. Because Tate has the national collection of international modern art and an extensive collection of modern British art which are shown at its four display sites, I will gain invaluable experience. I will be working within a museum environment where I can learn about aspects of conservation which I did not have access to within an academic framework. I will hone my knowledge and skills in the specialist fields of treatment, exhibition, display and loan of modern and contemporary works. I will rotate to different areas including dealing with works entering the collection, works going out and works going on display. I will also gain experience in looking at hundreds of paintings which are loaned to Tate for their exhibitions."


Laura's ambition is to become a practical conservator of modern and contemporary paintings. "This is a new area of specialisation within the conservation profession. I find it fulfilling to use my specialist skills and judgment in preserving and exhibiting works of art. It is an extremely rewarding profession to be involved in, particularly as my work benefits the public. I want to ensure as many people as possible enjoy viewing contemporary works of art for generations to come, thanks to the practical care and restoration of modern paintings."


QEST, the charitable arm of the Royal Warrant Holders Association, was established in 1990 with money contributed by its members, to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Association. The trustees look for well thought out projects, which will contribute to the pool of talent in the UK and reflect the excellence of British craftsmanship as symbolised by the Royal Warrant of Appointment.


Application forms for QEST Scholarships can also be downloaded from the QEST website: www.qest.org.uk They may also be obtained by sending an SAE (56p) to: The Secretary, The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, No.1 Buckingham Place, London SW1E 6HR. Closing date for applications for the next round of QEST Scholarships is 9 January 2009.

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