Pippa Balch

Senior Lecturer, Conservation of Easel Paintings

Pippa Balch is a paintings conservator and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Conservation. Particular interests include the study of painting materials and techniques through technical examination and replica-making, and conservation practice, especially the conservation and study of panel paintings.

As well as teaching conservation theory and practice for the MA in the Conservation of Easel Paintings, Pippa is responsible for the selection and sourcing of paintings for treatment and study by our students, and is the first point of contact for owners of paintings interested in this. With colleagues Aviva Burnstock and Karen Serres, she is a coordinator for the Painting Pairs programme (more information on this can be found at https://courtauld.ac.uk/research/whats-on/painting-pairs-art-history-and-technical-study/). Pippa is currently undertaking the conservation and study of Gerino da Pistoia’s Virgin and Child with Saints Lawrence, John the Baptist, Monica and Augustine belonging to the Courtauld Gallery.

Pippa Balch read biochemistry at Bristol University (BSc Hons 1990) before studying the conservation and restoration of easel paintings at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge (PGDip Cons 1996). She undertook an internship in The Netherlands from 1995-1997, working on paintings in museums and private collections there. From 1997 until 2007 she worked in private practice in London as a conservator-restorer of paintings from the 15th to 20th centuries. Pippa joined the Courtauld Faculty in December 2002.


Teaching 2023-24

MA in the Conservation of Easel Paintings

  • Principles and Theory of Conservation – approaches, history, methods and materials for Cleaning, Retouching, Varnishes, Conservation of Panel Paintings
  • Conservation Practice – active supervision of our students’ studio work. Involving the application of conservation principles, technical study and contextual research, and the development of practical and visual skills
  • Replica making – the study of materials and techniques through contextual study and reconstructions of paintings using historical methods and materials

Research interests

  • Practical Conservation and Restoration of Easel Paintings
  • Approaches and attitudes towards the cleaning and restoration of paintings
  • Materials and Techniques of paintings
  • Conservation and Study of Panel Paintings

Recent/major grants

  • Clothworkers’ Foundation Conservation Fellowship 2011-2013. The Study and Conservation of the Courtauld Gallery’s “Virgin and Child Enthroned with Saints Lawrence, John the Baptist, Monica and Augustine” by Gerino da Pistoia, dated 1510.

Other current/ongoing professional activities