Emily Howe - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Emily Howe

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Emily Howe

Lecturer, Conservation of Wall Painting

Emily Howe is a conservator specialising in the investigation and analysis of wall painting materials and techniques.  Her approach is inter-disciplinary, encompassing non-invasive recording and examination, art historical research and sample-based analysis, with a view to informing appropriate conservation strategies.

Emily read History with French as an undergraduate at the University of Bristol, and first came to The Courtauld to study for a Master’s degree in medieval art and architecture (1998). She subsequently worked as an Assistant Curator at the V&A Museum, before returning to The Courtauld to undertake a 3-year MA in the Conservation of Wall Painting (2004).

Research undertaken by Emily in the course of her career in private practice has focussed on English medieval wall paintings and sculptural polychromy, and she has worked on some of the country’s most iconic painting schemes, including those at Westminster Abbey, Eton College and Hampton Court Palace.

Having taught microscopy as a visiting lecturer since 2006, Emily was appointed Lecturer in the Conservation of Wall Painting Department in 2018. In this post she is responsible for the supervision of Masters students’ individual research projects, as well as for managing the department’s publications programme.

Teaching 2018-19: 

MA in the Conservation of Wall Painting

Research interests:

  • Non-invasive recording and examination of wall paintings
  • The materials and techniques of English medieval wall painting, painted sculpture and architectural polychromy
  • Sample-based analysis of wall painting materials (in particular, polarised light microscopy and SEM-EDX analysis)
  • The ritual and devotional function of wall paintings in their physical context

Recent publications:

Books and edited books

Wall Paintings of Eton, Emily Howe, Henrietta McBurney, David Park, Stephen Rickerby & Lisa Shekede, London, 2012 (awarded the William M.B. Berger Prize for British Art History 2013)

Essays and articles

‘St Mary’s Church at Old Linslade and its Romanesque Painting’, Richard Gem and Emily Howe, Records of Buckinghamshire (Journal of the Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society), 59 (forthcoming 2019).

‘Examination of surviving polychromy on the reredos in the chapel of All Souls College, Oxford’, transactions of the symposium at All Souls College, Oxford, 13th September 2018 (forthcoming).

‘Examination and analysis of the Deerhurst polychromy’, in R. Bryant (ed.), The Western Midlands: Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire (Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Stone Sculpture, vol. X), Oxford, 2012, 112-15.

Painted Anglo-Saxon sculpture in St Mary’s, Deerhurst: materials, techniques and context (Deerhurst Lecture 2010), Deerhurst, 2011.

‘Three-dimensional documentation and virtual restoration of the Lichfield Angel’, Angela Geary and Emily Howe, The Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 32:2 (2009), 165-79.

‘The Lichfield Angel: a spectacular discovery of Anglo-Saxon painted sculpture’, Warwick Rodwell, Jane Hawkes, Emily Howe and Rosemary Cramp, Antiquaries Journal, 88 (2008), 48-108.

‘The ninth-century polychrome decoration at St Mary’s Church, Deerhurst’, Richard Gem and Emily Howe with Richard Bryant, Antiquaries Journal, 88 (2008), 109-164.

‘The Lichfield Angel’, Country Life Magazine, 3 December 2008.

‘Wall painting technology at Westminster Abbey c.1260–1300: A comparative study of the murals in the south transept and the Chapel of St Faith’, in Medieval Painting in Northern Europe: Techniques, Analysis, Art History. Studies in Commemoration of the 70th Birthday of Unn Plahter, (eds. J. Nadolny with K. Kollandsrud, M.-L. Sauerberg and T. Froysaker), London, 2006, 91-113.

‘Painting and patronage at Westminster Abbey: the murals in the south transept and St Faith’s Chapel’, Burlington Magazine, 148 (January 2006), 4-14.

‘Divine Kingship and Dynastic Display: The altar wall murals of St Stephen’s Chapel, Westminster’, Antiquaries Journal, 81 (2001), 259-303.

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