Sharon Cather was educated at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and at Princeton University, where she worked particularly on the drawings of Gianlorenzo Bernini. After teaching in the History of Art Department at the University of Cambridge, she helped establish the Conservation of Wall Painting Department at The Courtauld in 1985.
Responsible for the Department’s research agenda, Sharon supervised fifty-eight MA dissertations, resulting in thirty-two publications, as well as other research at PhD level. She was also the main supervisor of the Department’s conservation, research and teaching projects in China, Georgia, India and Malta, and Project Director of the Leon Levy Foundation Centre for Conservation Studies at Nagaur (Rajasthan). She played a central role in the implementation of the MA-level teaching in conservation undertaken at Dunhuang (China) in collaboration with the Dunhuang Academy and Getty Conservation Institute, and in 2014 was awarded The People’s Republic of China Friendship Award (China’s highest award for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social progress).
Sharon served on the editorial board of Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung, and on other bodies including the Paintings Committee of the Church Buildings Council and the International Scientific Committee for the Conservation of the Marble Floor of St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. She was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the International Institute for Conservation, of which she was Vice-President from 2010 to 2014, and the American Academy in Rome.
PhD supervision included
- Sreekumar Menon, ‘Early Period Buddhist Wall Paintings of Ladakh from the 11th to the early 13th Century: Materials, Techniques and Conservation Implications’ supervised with David Park
- Na Li, ‘A Scientific Approach to Interpreting the Damage and Ongoing Mechanisms of Deterioration Caused by Fire to the Wall Paintings of the Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang, China’
- Chiara Pasian, ‘Non-Structural Lime-Based Injection Grouts with Reduced Water Content for Decorated Surfaces’, supervised with Francesca Piqué
- Amarilli Rava, ‘Re-adhesion Interventions on Wall Paintings: Bonding Mechanisms and Assessment Methods’
- Sibylla Tringham, ‘The Distribution of Consolidants in Painted Plaster’
- Charlotte Martin de Fonjaudran, ‘Cleaning Asian Wall Paintings: Constraints and Development of an Open-Source Image Analysis Workflow for in-situ Evaluation of Topographical Surface Changes’ (2014)
- Austin Nevin, ‘Fluorescence and Raman Spectroscopy for Analysis of Protein-Based Paint Media’ (2008)
- Robyn Pender, ‘The Behaviour of Moisture in the Porous Support Materials of Wall Paintings: An Investigation of Some Environmental Factors’ (2000)