Valentina Marabini, British Museum
After a year in China studying with the conservators at the Shanghai Museum, I arrived back in London in mid-December to start putting into practice at the British Museum the many new skills and techniques I learned.
In the last few months of my placement, I undertook a number of projects and had the opportunity to speak about my work at some international events.
One such event was the Forum for Curators of Chinese Art at the Seattle Art Museum in the USA, 27-29 July organised by the JS Lee Foundation. Curators, scientists, archeologists and conservators from both western and eastern museums came together to present, discuss and share their work and I was invited to speak about my time studying the conservation of Chinese heritage paintings in the conservation studio at Shanghai Museum.
In October I gave an introduction to the techniques I used in two conservation cases at the Fine Art Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. This gave me the chance to visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art, where I was able to meet fellow conservators and discuss examples from their collections and conservation challenges and methods with them.
I then went on to the National Palace Museum of Taipei, where I was given the honour of seeing some of their great masterpieces. The Head of Conservation, Mr Hung Sun Xin, allowed me to spend some time at their conservation facility and talked with me about materials and methods they use.
Finally, a visit to the Palace Museum in Beijing concluded my time in China. I have great interest in the northern style of conservation practice and the short exchange with my counterparts in Beijing left a warm impression contrasting with the cold temperature in the city.
Now, back in London, I am beginning to reflect on the opportunity I’ve just had and my gratitude to the JS Lee Foundation for making this year of study – and the extensive knowledge it has brought me – possible.
I’d also like to express my appreciation to Master Zhu Pin Fang, whose time, knowledge and assistance provided me with the chance to develop my technical skills in a unique environment.