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Arabella, Paintings Conservation Intern

Helen, Paintings Conservation Intern

Helen conserves Philip II, King of Spain, c.1635, by the Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens

Helen conserves Philip II, King of Spain, c.1635, by the Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens ©

I applied for the internship with an undergraduate MA in Art History and French, and shortly before completing my postgraduate MA in the Conservation of Easel Paintings. I had already done a short internship in a private conservation studio.

My Royal Collection Trust internship has mainly been dedicated to practical work, and a typical day would be spent at my easel in the conservation studio. A major project I worked on was the full treatment of Philip II, King of Spain, c.1635, by the Studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens, from the King's Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

I have really enjoyed travelling to the royal residences around the UK to carry out condition checks of paintings and in-situ treatments. The best things about this internship were the amazing quality of the pictures I worked on and the wealth of practical experience that my colleagues have shared with me. Through their introductions, I have also had the chance to establish some very useful contacts within the industry.

As a result of my studies, I had a fairly good grounding in most of the practical skills needed for conservation before I started the internship. These include visual sensitivity, manual dexterity and adopting a methodical approach to the work. However, the challenging projects I undertook during the internship have definitely developed my confidence in carrying out complex conservation treatments.

I was fortunate enough to be asked to stay on for a further six months once my internship ended, and this will be a real boost for my CV. To anyone who is thinking of applying for an internship, I would advise them not to be put off because they think it will be competitive. Provided you have the relevant qualifications and a passion for conservation work, you should give it a go.

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