Aviva Burnstock

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Professor Aviva Burnstock

Professor and Head of the Department of Conservation and Technology

Aviva Burnstock is the Head of the Department of Conservation and Technology at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where she took a PhD (1991) and a Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings (1984). From 1986-1992 she worked in the Scientific Department of the National Gallery, London after a year as a paintings conservator in Australia with the Regional Galleries Association of New South Wales. Her first degree is in Neurobiology (BSc University of Sussex 1981). She was awarded the first Joop Los Fellowship at the Institute for Molecular Physics (AMOLF /FOM) Amsterdam in 2003, and is a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation (IIC).

Aviva’s research interests include investigation of the materials and techniques used for painting; and characterisation of visual and material changes; the application of new methods for technical study; evaluating methods for conservation practice (for example methods for cleaning paintings); focus on the deterioration and conservation issues for modern oil paint and paintings.

 

Teaching 2016-17

  • The PG Diploma in the conservation of easel paintings
  • BA History of Art Year 1: Physical History of works of art
  • Graduate Diploma in History of Art: Physical History of works of art

PhD Supervision

Current

  • Silvia Amato: Combined Scanning Multispectral Infrared Reflectography and Macro-X-ray Fluorescence: an innovative approach to the study of materials and technique of five paintings by Édouard Manet at the Courtauld Gallery
  • Patricia Smithen (from October 2015) CDP Tate, Preliminary title: The production and use of acrylic paints in Britain, co supervised with Dr Bronwyn Ormsby, Tate.
  • PhD Amarili Rava – Consolidation of earthen supports in wall paintings (with Emma Richardson, UCL from 2018 –

Recently completed

  • Rachel Mustalish ‘Materials and meaning: works on paper by Arthur Dove’
  • Alexandra Gent (from October 2015) Repetition and Replication in Sir Joshua Reynolds’s Studio Practice, co supervised with Prof David Solkin (CHASE funded)
  • Emilie Froment (University of Amsterdam, co supervised with Professor Jorgen Wadum) ‘The effects of wax resin lining on seventeenth century paintings in the Royal Palace, Amsterdam’
  • D Judith Lee (from September 2013) CDP/AHRC (with Tate, co supervised with Bronwyn Ormsby) Modern British Oils: history, formulation and use. Viva set for March 7th 2018

PG Diploma final year research projects:

  • Alice Craigie (2019) Technical examination of 500 years of conservation on The Holy Trinity with Saints John the Baptist, Mary Magdalen, Tobias and Raphael by Botticelli and assistants. From the Courtauld Gallery
  • Jennifer Gonzalez Coroujo (2019) Exploring the potential of multispectral imaging in the UV range
  • Laura Turco (2019) Project Title: An investigation into the Materials and Techniques of Domenico Fetti (1589-1623), with a focus on a comparison between repeated compositions Adam and Eve at Work (1618-20) of the Courtauld Gallery, La Vie Champêtre (early 17th century) of the National Trust, and La Vie Champêtre, or La Fileuse (1623) of the Louvre

Other teaching and research supervision:

  • Anne Muszynsk, Masters Thesis title: Woman with a Fringe 1917, attributed to Amadeo Modigliani: A comparative technical analysis (2019)

Research interests

  • Technical study of paintings
  • Artists materials and techniques
  • Investigating visual and material change in works of art
  • Developing and evaluation of methods for conservation of paintings

Forthcoming publications

Publications in preparation

  • A Journey into the Modern: Making and Meaning in the Early Work of Mark Gertler, 1911-18 with Sarah MacDougall, submitted to British Art Studies December 2018.

Publications in press

  • Cleaning Modern Oil Paintings  – Springer Science, due 2020.
  • Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Grisaille Paintings, Aviva Burnstock and Karen Serres. Publication following the Symposium Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Once in a lifetime Kunsthistorisches Museum, Wein, due late 2019.

Recent publications

Books and edited books

  • Painting in Britain 1500-1630, Production, Influences and Patronage, Tarnya Cooper, Aviva Burnstock, Maurice Howard and Edward Town eds., British Academy OUP publn. (2015) ISBN 978-0-19-726584-0 includes leading essay Interpreting the results of technical analysis 94-105.
  • Issues in Contemporary Oil Paint, Klaas Jan van den Berg, Aviva Burnstock, Matthijs de Keijzer, Jay Krueger, Tom Learner, Alberto de Tagle,and Gunnar Heydenreich Eds, Springer International Publns Switzerland (2014), ISBN978-3-319-10100-2.

Essays and articles

  • The role of the polymeric network in the water sensitivity of modern oil paints Jacopo La Nasa, Judith Lee, Ilaria Degano, Aviva Burnstock, Klaas Jan van den Berg, Bronwyn Ormsby & Ilaria Bonaduce, Scientific Reports, March 2019.
  • Taking Different Forms: Metal Soaps in Paintings, Diagnosis of Condition, and Issues for Treatment, Burnstock A., In: Casadio F. et al. (eds) Metal Soaps in Art. Cultural Heritage Science. Springer, Cham, 2019.
  • An Investigation into Metal Ions in Varnish Coatings, Higgs S., Burnstock A.,In: Casadio F. et al. (eds) Metal Soaps in Art. Cultural Heritage Science. Springer, Cham, 2019.
  • ‘Interpreting technical evidence from spectral imaging of paintings by Edouard Manet in the Courtauld Gallery’, Amato S.R., Burnstock A., Cross M., Janssens K., Rosi F., Cartechini L., Fontana R., Dal Fovo A., Paolantoni M., Grazia C., Romani A., Michelin A., Andraud C., Tournié A., Dik J., X-Ray Spectrometry, 2018; 1-11. DOI: 10.1002/xrs.2828
  • ‘The role of the polymeric network in the water sensitivity of modern oil paints’, Jacopo La Nasa, Judith Lee, Ilaria Degano, Aviva Burnstock, Klaas Jan van den Berg, Bronwyn Ormsby, and Ilaria Bonaduce, Microchemical Journal vol 138 May 2018 p282-295.
  • Modiglianis’s Painted Nudes’, Aviva Burnstock, Lena Stringari and Isabelle Duvernois, Burlington Magazine April 2018, No. 1381 Vol 160 p.319-324.
  • The influence of science and technology on the conservation and technical study of paintings in the last 50 years: a personal viewpoint”, A. Burnstock, in The Picture so Far: 50 Years of Painting Conservation, edited by Abigail Granville, Laura Hinde, Sophie Plender, Hayley Tomlinson and Nancy Wade, Archetype publns. 2018, p32-58.
  • ‘Insoluble surface spots, metal soaps and challenges in the conservation of Goya’s Portrait of Francisco de Saavedra’, Aviva Burnstock*, Maureen Cross and Karen Serres, ICOM CC Copenhagen congress September 2017.
  • The chemical characterisation of water-sensitive modern oil paint swatches by Winsor & Newton‘, Judith Ann Lee, * Bronwyn Ann Ormsby,  Aviva Burnstock, Klaas Jan van den Berg, ICOM CC Copenhagen congress September 2017.
  • Water sensitivity of modern oil paintings‘, Mills, L & Burnstock, Aviva & Keulen, Henk & Duarte, F & Megens, Luc & Van den Berg, Klaas Jan, ICOM CC Copenhagen congress September 2017.
  • An investigation of options for surface cleaning unvarnished water-sensitive oil paints based on recent developments for acrylic paints‘, Bronwyn Ormsby, Jae Youn Chung, Burnstock, van den Berg, Judith Lee, ICOM CC Copenhagen congress September 2017.
  • A molecular study of modern oil paintings: investigating the role of dicarboxylic acids in the water sensitivity of modern oil paints‘, Donatella Banti, Jacopo La Nasa, Anna Lluveras Tenorio, Francesca Modugno, Klaas Jan van den Berg, Judith Lee, Bronwyn.Ormsby, Aviva Burnstock, Ilaria Bonaduce,RSC Adv., 2018, 8, 6001.
  • Interpreting technical evidence from spectral imaging of paintings by Édouard Manet in the Courtauld Gallery‘, Amato SR, Burnstock A, Cross M, et al. , X‐Ray Spectrometry. 2018;1–11.
  • A technical study of Poussin’s Triumph of David, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Aviva Burnstock and Sophia Plender, KERMES, 2015.
  • ‘Seurat’s Hidden Self-portrait’, Aviva Burnstock and Karen Serres, The Burlington Magazine, Volume CLVI number 1333 April 2014, pp. 240-242.
  • ‘André Derain Trees by a Lake: Le Parc de Carrières-Saint-Denis Cleo Nisse’, Francesca Whitlum-Cooper and Aviva Burnstock, Art Matters 6, 2015, pp. 10-19.
  • A technical study of portraits of King James VI and I attributed to John de Critz the Elder (d.1642): artist, workshop and copies’ in European Paintings 15th-18th Century, Copying, Replicating and Emulating, Caroline Rae and Aviva Burnstock. Centre for Art Technological Studies (CATS). Copenhagen, 2014, pp. 58-66.
  • ‘A cause of water-sensitivity in modern oil paint films: The formation of magnesium sulphate’, Studies in Conservation, Silvester, G., Burnstock, A., Megens, L., Learner, T., Chiari, G., van den Berg, K J., Vol. 59 (1), 2014, pp. 38-51.
  • Issues in Contemporary Oil Paint, Klaas Jan van den Berg, Aviva Burnstock, Matthijs de Keijzer, Jay Krueger, Tom Learner, Alberto de Tagle,and Gunnar Heydenreich Eds, Springer International Publns Switzerland (2015). Includes the following chapters:
    • Aviva Burnstock and Klaas Jan van den Berg, The Interface Between Science and Conservation and the Challenges for Modern Oil Paint Research
    • Alysia Sawicka, Aviva Burnstock, Klaas Jan van den Berg, Francesca Izzo, Katrien Keune, Jaap Boon and Kathrin Kirsch, Metal soap efflorescence in contemporary oil painting.
    • Anna Cooper, Aviva Burnstock, Klaas jan van den Berg, Bronwyn Ormsby, Water Sensitive Oil Paints in the 20th Century: A study of the distribution of water-soluble degradation products in modern oil paint films.
  • Technical Examination of Works by Camille and Lucien Pissarro from the Courtauld Gallery‘, Lydia Gutierrez and Aviva Burnstock, Art Matters, vol. 5, 2013, pp. 13, 16.

Recent Major Grants

  • Collaborator on National Portrait Gallery and Sussex University project Making Art in Tudor Britain (2009-2014) – supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the  Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, British Academy, The Leverhulme Trust, The Mercers’ Company, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, The Märit and Hans Rausing Trust, PF Charitable Trust, The John S Cohen Trust, The Leche Trust, The Idlewild Trust and an anonymous benefactor.

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