Jenny Williamson, Paintings Conservator at The National Library of Wales, has been made a Fellow of the International Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. The award recognizes an outstanding contribution to the field of conservation and professional development.
When asked about some of the highlights of her career, Jenny said:
“There have been a number of key paintings which I consider particular highlights. For instance, I have carried out treatment on many Sir Kyffin Williams paintings in the collection, some have been a joy to work with, and others have been more problematic!
“One of the more complex and rewarding paintings which I worked on was the portrait of Catherine Jones of Colomendy by Richard Wilson, painted in c.1740. There was overpaint added at a later date to the painting, changing the original shape of the sitter. The subject’s shoulders were originally painted to slope quite dramatically but these had been altered to make them appear squarer. The issue was whether to remove the addition or simply clean the painting as it was. I eventually decided, after much discussion, to take the image back to how the artist had originally painted it.
< “I also restored the Tudor portrait of Catrin of Berain for the National Library. Catrin of Berain is known as the Mother of Wales, and this particular portrait was painted in 1568 and is attributed to Adriaen Van Cronburgh. It is a great honour to see it on permanent display at the Library. It’s an interesting painting, not only because of the subject but also because of the skill of the artist; the details of the jewellery are beautifully painted.
“I must add that many conservators work in isolation and not all aspects of the work are obvious. Besides restoring paintings, my work includes monitoring and controlling the storage and display environment, including humidity and light levels. Preparing works for exhibition in other venues is also a crucial element of my work, particularly making sure that they are framed and glazed properly”.
Pedr ap Llwyd, Chief Executive and Librarian at the National Library of Wales said:
“We are thrilled that Jenny has received this accolade. Her conservation skills are extraordinary and we are very lucky to have her as part of the Library’s staff. She has also made a great contribution to professional development within her specialist field. Being offered this fellowship is a great honor for her as it was offered by her international profession.”
Elen Haf Jones
01970 632 534
In addition to her career at the Library, Jenny lectured part–time at Aberystwyth University in the School of Art, from 2005 – 2015, on various aspects of conservation. She also serves as Vice-chair of the board of Trustees of the Institute of Conservation since 2017, has been on the steering Group for developing a National Conservation Strategy for Wales, has worked with Conservation Matters in Wales for many years and been part of the Emergency Planning Network South Wales since 2017.
She lives in Borth and is the busy mother to three sons, but she still maintains her connections with conservators locally, nationally and internationally.