My first day on my Icon Internship at the National Trust for Scotland

Icon Intern Victoria Herbert shares her experience while assisting in condition checking and the packing of artefacts for their return to Broughton House

19 Apr 2021

Icon Intern Victoria Herbert started her Bute funded Care of Collections & Historic Interiors internship at the National Trust for Scotland in February this year. However, it wasn't until March that she finally began to get on site and really start her hands on learning. Read on to hear more about Victoria's exciting first day.

I began my internship supported by the NTS Bute memorial fund in mid-February but in these Covid times things are obviously running contrary to the norm, so mid-March has been my first opportunity to physically get involved. Not only was it my first-time meeting Lesley Scott ACR (Conservation Advisor Edinburgh & East) but also got to meet Gwen Thomas (Collections Care Officer, Museums & Galleries Edinburgh) who was assisting with the take down of the Hornel exhibit at the City Arts Centre in Edinburgh.

I assisted in condition checking and packing some of the artefacts ready for their return to Broughton House. As the exhibit was only open for a short period of time the likelihood of any significant change in condition was remote, especially due to the stable environmental conditions and regular checks by staff. This made the condition checking a smooth process and afforded me a gentile introduction into the methods of the Trust. 

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Condition checking of the paintings.



Creating the housing for Hornels Paint Pallet


Once the condition checking was done, we packed some of the artefacts using conservation grade packing materials. In particular the artists original pallet proved slightly challenging due to the 3D texture of the remaining paint. To reduce the risk of damage to the surface a simple solution of mount board scored either side to create a housing was devised and seemed to work quite well in providing stability while also reducing the risk of damage to the fragile surface.

This was my first opportunity to complete these kinds of tasks outside a more traditional learning environment and the agency I was afforded in completing the tasks was fantastic. I find it incredibly helpful and have always benefited from a ‘learn by doing’ approach and this initial experience gave me that. I am very much looking forward to the new challenges and experience this internship will afford me and developing my skills and network within the conservation field. 

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Gwen Thomas (right) and Victoria Herbert, ‘Brighouse Bay, Wild and Burnet Roses,’ 
E.A.Hornel, 1929, oil on canvas.


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