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News Anatomy of an art conservator's laboratory

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​O'Connell wears her magnifying optivisor while at work on "The Blue Boy" in her lab. Courtesy The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

​The LA Times visited Huntington senior paintings conservator and WUDPAC alumna Christina O’Connell as she prepares to treat Gainsborough’s iconic painting "Blue Boy." From the September 14, 2018 article by Deborah Vankin:

This month, Christina O’Connell begins conservation on the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens’ iconic “The Blue Boy,” Thomas Gainsborough’s 18th-century masterpiece. The yearlong effort is part of the exhibition “Project Blue Boy,” which O’Connell co-organized with curator Melinda McCurdy.

During the exhibition, O’Connell will work between a temporary conservation lab set up in the museum’s Thornton Portrait Gallery, as the public watches, as well as in her private laboratory. Her permanent workspace feels partly like a high school chemistry lab, filled with multiple microscopes, and partly like a professional framer’s studio, with spacious work surfaces and standing studio lights.

To read O’Connell’s take on her six “go to” tools of the trade (the Hi-R NEO 900 Haag-Streit surgical microscope, an Optivisor, a good easel, ample lighting, hand tools, and paint and varnish) and why they’re important to conservation science, read the LA Times online article here. A companion article by Vankin on the upcoming treatment of "Blue Boy" can be read here.

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The LA Times visited Huntington senior paintings conservator and WUDPAC alumna Christina O’Connell as she prepares to treat Gainsborough’s iconic painting "Blue Boy."

The LA Times visited Huntington senior paintings conservator and WUDPAC alumna Christina O’Connell as she prepares to treat Gainsborough’s iconic painting "Blue Boy."

9/29/2018
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  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489
  • art-conservation@udel.edu