Ellen Purdy (PhD Candidate, Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry)
Helen Bremm (PhD Candidate, Department of History of Art)

Flavia Fiorillo (Research Associate at the Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge, and Research Associate in Heritage Science at the Cambridge University Library)
Hugh Morrison (Collections Manager, West Dean College of Arts and Conservation)
Sandra Zetina Ocaña (Associate Researcher in Material Studies and Modern Art, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, and Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencias para la Investigación y Conservación del Patrimonio Cultural (LANCIC), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
Camille Polkownik (Conservator of Easel Paintings, Hamilton Kerr Institute, Fitzwilliam Museum)

This symposium gives insights into the recent and first technical art historical studies of works by the British-born Mexican artist Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) in Mexico and the United Kingdom. One of Mexico’s best-known artists, the recent 2022 Venice Biennale d’Arte, titled after Carrington’s short story collection The Milk of Dreams, emphasised the increasing international popularity of her works and the strong resonance of her artistic vision in the present. We studied her painting technique and materials from an interdisciplinary perspective at the crossroads of conservation, art history, and scientific methods from chemistry and physics.

During the symposium, speakers will present short papers on their roles in the projects and show the breadth of expertise mobilised at the universities and beyond in collaborative technical art historical projects.

The event will present findings from the technical campaigns undertaken at the Museo Nacional de Antropología, together with colleagues from the museum and LANCIC-Física UNAM, in September 2023, and the most recent campaign at the Fitzwilliam Museum of works from the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts and West Dean College, undertaken in March 2024.

The Cambridge-based technical campaign ‘Leonora Carrington’s Tempera Paintings, 1945–47’ was funded by a Conservation Research Grant from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art.