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Welcome to all Icon members from the Committee of the Icon Paintings Group. We have a regular programme of conferences and meetings spread throughout the year to which all members of Icon and the wider public are warmly invited.


Thursday, 18th June 2015
Morwenna Blewett
Paintings Conservator at the National Gallery, London.

Refugee Restorers, Sir Kenneth Clark and the National Gallery

“The chance of absorbing the best talent….one should not condemn them because they may be Jewish or German’

Connections between the National Gallery and refugee restorers, most of whom were Jewish, were achieved through the personal interventions of its director, Sir Kenneth Clark (1934-45). His actions saved lives. Alongside this however, Clark held bigoted views about Jews active elsewhere in the arts.
In the case of Jewish restorers, at least, his prejudice seems extinct. He used the gallery directly, and indirectly, to assist a number of individuals; providing practical solutions to pastoral or legal problems and help in finding work. He also played a vital role in a bid to resolve difficulties encountered when a group of the established London trade restorers attempted to marginalise their foreign counterparts.

Morwenna Blewett read the History of Art at the Courtauld Institute of Art, completing her degree in 2000. In 2003, she concluded her training as a paintings conservator at the Department of Conservation and Technology, also at the Courtauld. She held an Andrew. W Mellon Fellowship in Paintings Conservation at Worcester Art Museum, Massachusetts from 2004-2006. From 2006-2007 she held the Straus Paintings Conservation Fellowship at the Straus Center for Conservation at Harvard University.
After working as a paintings conservator at the National Galleries of Scotland she took up the post of Paintings Conservator at the Cambridge University-affiliated Ebury street studio of the Hamilton Kerr Institute, to work under Anna Sanden. She holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Art Profession Law and Ethics, completed in 2008 and also a Graduate Diploma in Law (CPE) completed in 2010. 
She is currently completing an LLB in Law from the University of Northumbria with a focus on the legislative provisions covering malicious damage to movable cultural property. She is also a PhD candidate at the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Birkbeck, University of London, completing a dissertation exploring the role of the restoration profession in the expropriation of works of art during the Second World War. She is a Paintings Conservator at the National Gallery, London.

Venue: In the Robing Room at Freemason's Hall, 60 Great Queen Street London WC2B 5AZ.

Freemasons Hall is close to both Covent Garden and Holborn Tube Stations.

Doors open at 6pm. Talk 6.30pm – 8pm

Tickets: ICON members:  £10, non- members: £15. Students £5 (student card required to be shown on the door)

Free wine and cheese inc. in price of ticket.

Click here to purchase tickets.

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