Emily Makinson

I am a third-year conservation student, with background knowledge in arts and science, who came into the degree with an interest in learning more about the conservation of cultural heritage. Throughout my three years of study I have found the conservation and preservation of paper and painted objects fascinating, as I learned about their history and treatment options. I intend to gain more knowledge in paper conservation, a very delicate material and sometimes challenging subject (depending on the severity of the damage). I hope to gain more experience through an internship or placement.




Owner: Shuttleworth Trust 


UL No. 18/049 ​

This building plan on tissue was drawn out on architectural tracing paper in September 1875. Over the years the paper became brittle, tearing into over 50 pieces, due to inappropriate environmental conditions in storage. Also, the surface gradually became discoloured and dirty which led to surface deterioration. 


The architectural drawing is of an unknown building and location and there is no verification whether the building was constructed. There is an indication that the ‘house’ sketch was to be demolished and this plan to be built in its place. 


The main focus was to repair the plan. An adhesive called methylcellulose was used along with fibres of Japanese tissue paper to join the torn edges together. Fragile, creased areas were flattened with weights before repairs were made to ensure the drawing aligned. The bonded edges were joined from the back of the paper to avoid covering the original drawing. 


There are areas of loss due to misplacement of broken pieces. To reduce the bright white colour of the Japanese tissue repairs, a tinted, orange/brown watercolour pigment was carefully applied to the fibres with a brush.

Architectural Plan on Tissue



Still Life Oil Painting



Owner: Henning Schulze

UL No. 20/007 

This painting, which presents a still life image of fruit, bread and wine, on a hardboard panel, was bought in France. The use of traditional oil paint, consisting of linseed oil and dry powder pigments had created thick brush strokes producing an uneven surface and texture. 


Due to build-up of dust, dirt and inappropriate environmental conditions, the painting’s surface and structure had gradually deteriorated and become less aesthetically pleasing for display. 


To reduce flaking of paint and loss of material, treatments were tested and applied, to prevent further damage. The edges and flaking areas of the painting were focused on first to ensure it did not worsen and that wet cleaning treatments did not remove more paint. 


To improve the aesthetics of the painting, the main focus was to reduce grease and dirt build-up. Wet cleaning with multiple treatments was the key step for the treatment of this object. The final step was the application of an infilling medium. This was applied to the areas of paint loss in the most visible areas to ensure they were less noticeable.