Christina Young - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Christina Young

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Dr Christina Young

Reader in Easel Painting Conservation and Conservation Science

Christina Young is a reader in easel painting conservation and conservation science in the Conservation & Technology Department. She supervises structural conservation treatments for both canvas and panels. Christina is actively researching in the fields of fatigue and fracture of paintings, non-invasive monitoring techniques, methods/materials for structural conservation, the conservation of contemporary art, preventive conservation for historical woodwind instruments and the significance of scenic art.

Christina has a BSc in Physics from Imperial College (ICL) and an MSc in Applied Optics. Following industrial research in the development of optical instrumentation she returned to ICL in 1993 as a Research Assistant in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In 1994 she was awarded the Gerry Hedley Research Scholarship and gained her PhD in the “Measurement of the biaxial tensile properties of paintings on canvas” in 1996. Before joining The Courtauld she was Leverhulme Research Fellow at Tate Britain between 1997-2000. In 2010, she was a visiting Getty Scholar at the Getty Conservation Centre, Los Angeles. Since May 2013, she has been a visiting academic at Imperial College, London.

Watch a short video on Canvas for the 21st Century, a  Designing for the C21st AHRC/EPSRC initiative project.


Teaching 2016-17

Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings

  • Colour theory/ optics/ digital imaging & processing/ graphical representations and statistics / mechanics
  • Deterioration of paintings
  • Materials for conservation
  • Practical workshops on the structural conservation of canvas and panel paintings
  • Preventive conservation theory and in-situ survey
  • Structural conservation theory- canvas and wood
  • Theory and practice of cleaning
  • Conservation issues for contemporary and modern art
  • Approaches to research

Schools Projects and Outreach

PhD Supervision


  • Jacek Olender, ‘Gecko Inspired Dry Adhesives for Conservation’
  • Laura Davies, ‘Characterisation Patina of Hepworth Bronze Sculptures’

Recently completed

  • Soratos Tantideeravit, ‘Fracture Mechanics of Multi-layer Paints’ (2013) (ICL external supervisor)
  • R. Bordalo, ‘The Effect of Excimer Laser Irradiation on Historical Pigments’ (2011)

Research interests

  • Interlaminar fracture detection, fatigue and adhesion processes in multilayer paint systems.
  • History of Scenic Art in the UK.
  • History and Design of Fabric Supports
  • Conservation of contemporary art.
  • Conservation of historical woodwind instruments.  Download
  • Assessment and development of methods and materials used for the structural conservation treatments of canvas and panel paintings.
  • Non-destructive optical methods of analysing canvas and panel paintings.

Recent publications

Essays and articles

  • Hagan, E., Charalambides M., Young C.R.T. and Learner T. “The effects of strain rate and temperature on commercial acrylic artist paints aged one year to decades”, Applied Physics A 09/2015; DOI:10.1007/s00339-015-9423-6.
  • Griffin, A., Young CRT, and Hale, T.  2014. ‘History is my material’.  ICOM-CC 17th Triennial Conference Preprints, Melbourne, 15–19 September 2014, ed. J. Bridgeland, 1305, 11 pp. Paris: International Council of Museums, Sept. 2014, ISBN 978-92-9012-410-8  Download
  • Young C.R.T.,The Painted Surface and Interface, Chapter in The Conservation of Panel Paintings and Related Objects, NOW/Getty, Sept., 2014. ISBN 978-90-77875-83-4  Download
  • Tantideeravit, M.N. Charalambides, D.S. Balint & Young C.R.T., Prediction of Delamination in Multilayer Artists Paints Under Low Amplitude Fatigue Loading, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, 112-113 (Oct 2013) 41-57.
  • Young C.R.T., The Changing Role of English Scenic Artists, Setting the Scene, Archetype Publications, London, Sept. 2013, 99-107, ISBN: 9781904982906.  Download
  • Young C.R.T.,The Use of 3D ESPI for the Structural Analysis of Paintings on Canvas, LACONA IX Conference, London, 2013, 108-115. ISBN 978-1-904982-87-6
  • Young C.R.T., Glass Transition Interpretation for Canvas Paintings, Adhesives and Consolidants in Painting Conservation, London, Archetype Publications, July 2013. ISBN 9781904982883
  • Bordalo R., Morais P.J. , Young C. R.T.,  Santos L.F., Characterisation of Laser-induced Physical Alterations of Pigmented Oil Layers, e-Preservation Science 9, Nov. 2012, 47-59.
  • Young C.R.T., Jardine S., Fabrics for the Twenty First Century: as Artist Canvas and for the Structural Reinforcement of Easel Paintings on Canvas, Studies in Conservation, 47, 4, Oct. 2012, 237-253.
  • Young C.R.T., History of Fabric Supports, chapter in Conservation of Easel Paintings, eds. J Holl Stoner & R. Rushfield, Publishers Routledge Nov. 2012, ISBN 978-0-7506-8199-5.
  • Sanders K., Harrison L., Higgit C., Young C.R.T., Purely decorative? Technical analysis of a fifteenth-century Northern European parade shield, IIC Congress Vienna Postprints, Sept 2012. 268-278.
  • Bordalo R., Morais PJ., Santos LF., Almeida, R. M., Young C.R.T. , The Effect of Excimer Laser Irradiation on Historical Pigments, Preprints ICOM-CC Congress, Lisbon, Sept. 2011.
  • Rae C., Young C.R.T., Fuseli’s Methods and Materials, The Picture Restorer, Sept.  2011, pp 12-15.
  • Young C.R.T., Predicting Practical Properties of Unfilled and Filled Adhesives from Thermomechanical Data, CCI Symposium – Adhesives and Consolidants for Conservation: Research and Applications Preprints, Ottawa 2011,  Download
  • Young C.R.T., New B., Marchant R., Experimental Evaluation of Adhesive Gap Filler Combinations for Joining Panel Paintings, invited paper for the Getty Symposium on Panel Paintings 2009, Proceedings, Getty Publications, Oct 2011, 125-139.
  • Hagan, E., Charalambides M., Young C.R.T., Learner T., and Hackney S., The viscoelastic properties of latex paint films in tension: influence of the inorganic phase and surfactants, Progress in Organic Coatings, 69, 1, Sept. 2010, 73-81.
  • Blessley K, Young C.R.T., Nunn J., Coddington J., Shepard S., The Feasibility of Flash Thermography for the Examination and Conservation of Works of Art, Studies in Conservation, June 2010. 107-120.

Recent/major grants

  • 2012-13 Getty Panel Paintings Initiative. $231,000 over two years.
  • 2012 Courtauld Research Forum two day conference £5000
  • 2007-2009 EPSRC/AHRC Design for the C21st in Art and Architecture (£322,000 in collaboration with Warwick University).
  • 2008-2009 London Universities Knowledge Exchange Seed Fund 2007/8 £5000.

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