Professor Austin Nevin

Head of Conservation

I am the Head of the Department of Conservation, that unites Easel Painting and Wall Painting Conservation with transdisplinary research on preventive conservation, technical art history, conservation science and conservation practice. My research focuses on the conservation and analysis of paintings, ancient and modern art on walls, easels and on paper and ranges from Chinese wall paintings to the analysis of Egyptian Polychromy and the analysis of red pigments from Leonardo´s The Last Supper. Recent research also identified egg binders in wall paintings from Tel Kabri, the second oldest example of organic binding media in western paintings.

I am a conservator and conservation scientist. Prior to joining The Courtauld I coordinated the MA degree in conservation at the University of Gothenburg and taught at the Accademia di Brera in Milan. Between 2011-2019 I was a Researcher at the Istituto di Fotonica e Nanotecnologie (IFN) in Milan, part of the Italian National Research Council. I completed post doctoral research at the Department of Physics at the Politecnico di Milano on applications of time resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to cultural heritage, and at The Courtauld as an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, where I led the Master of the Fogg Pietà Project. Between 2004-2007 I was a Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellow at the Foundation for Research and Technology (IESL-FORTH) in Greece.

Following a degree in Chemistry from the University of Oxford (2001), I obtained an MA in the Conservation of Wall Painting (2004) and a PhD at The Courtauld (2008). My training at The Courtauld has been the foundation for my vision that is inclusive and international, and based on shared values, scientific research and conservation practice.

I am a Vice President and Fellow of the International Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works and have chaired the Technical Committees for the Edinburgh (2020), Turin (2018), Los Angeles (2016) and Hong Kong (2014) Congresses. I also served as the Coordinator of the Scientific Research working group of ICOM-CC from 2011-2014, and currently am on the Conseil Scientifique of the La Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société Sud-Est (France). I am an Editor of Studies in Conservation and of the Springer Series Cultural Heritage Science

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

  • Conservation and Heritage Science: applications of spectroscopy for the analysis of molecular materials in paintings and tracking degradation of pigments and polymers, from kermes lakes in Italian wall paintings to cadmium sulphide degradation in modern art
  • Pigment synthesis and chemistry: historical recipes and trace impurities
  • Digital humanities: linking conservation documentation and results from technical analysis for interdisciplinary research, from dispersed altarpieces to comparative technical study
  • Conservation practice: critical assessment of wall painting conservation in Sweden (funded by the Swedish National Heritage Board)

PhD Supervision

Current supervision

Y. Hahn, Buddhist Temple Wall Paintings in South Korea: a Conservation Assessment, supervised with Anthony Eastmond

J. Porter, Organic materials in wall paintings: cultural practice, analysis and deterioration (provisional title) co-supervised with JoAnn Cassar, University of Malta

Completed PhD Supervision

R. De Angelis, The Technology of Baroque Oil-Based Wall Paintings in Malta: Materials and Implications for Conservation supervised with JoAnn Cassar, University of Malta

A. Källbom, Painting Treatments of Weather Exposed Ferrous Heritage. Guidance Principles and Working Procedures Considering Material Characteristics and Craft Skills of Linseed Oils and Paints supervised with Gunnar Almevik and Maria Brunskog University of Gothenburg, 2021

E. Angelin, The fate of colours in 20th-21st centuries: preserving the organic colorants in plastic artefacts (provisional title) supervised with Maria Joao Melo and Marcello Piccolo, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, 2021



Major Grants

  • GoGreen:Green Strategies to Conserve the Past and Preserve the Future of Cultural Heritage, ERC Horizion 2022 Project 2022-2026, coordinated by the Univeristy of Amsterdam
  • National Wall Painting Intitiave funded by the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art and the Pilgrim Trust
  • AHRC Capability for Collections Fund for the upgrading of scientific instrumentation in Conservation at The Courtauld, £1M
  • Swedish National Heritage Board (RAA): Critical Assessment of Wall Painting Conservation in Sweden 2020-2021
  • Grant for collaborative research between the Italian National Research Council and the Chinese Academy of Cultural Heritage 2015-2018
  • Bilateral grant for collaborative research between Italy and the USA with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2014-2016
  • Italian Ministry of Education – Futuro in Ricerca: From Futurism to Classicism (1910-1922). Research, Art History and Materials Analysis 2013-2016

Recent Publications

  • Mariateresa Pullano, Victoria Skalleberg, Eva Nygårds & Austin Nevin. Pierre Bonnard’s Oil on Cardboard: A Comparative Study of Two Paintings at the Gothenburg Museum of Art, Journal of Paper Conservation (2023) ,
  • Gomez Lobon, M., Ghirardello, M., Juncosa Darder, E. et al. A study of cadmium yellow paints from Joan Miró’s paintings and studio materials preserved at the Fundació Miró Mallorca. Herit Sci 11, 145 (2023).
  • Tong, Y., Cai, Y., Nevin, A. et al. Digital technology virtual restoration of the colours and textures of polychrome Bodhidharma statue from the Lingyan Temple, Shandong, China. Herit Sci 11, 12 (2023).
  • Marta Ghirardello and others, Application of Synchrotron Radiation-Based Micro-Analysis on Cadmium Yellows in Pablo Picasso’s FemmeMicroscopy and Microanalysis, Volume 28, Issue 5, 1 October 2022, Pages 1504–1513,

Publications in preparation

  • Molecular Luminescence in Cultural Heritage, edited by M. J. Melo, A. Romani, D. Comelli and A. Nevin, Springer Series on Fluorescence, 2022

Editorial boards

Studies in Conservation, Springer Cultural Heritage Science