My name is Sophia Eisland and I‘m studying conservation and restoration, with a focus on paintings, at the University of Applied Sciences and Art in Hildesheim Germany. During the fifth semester it is mandatory for students to do an internship of eighteen weeks in order to get more insight into the daily routine of a conservator. It was important to me to get as much practical experience as possible and to learn new conservation skills.
When I read about SRAL I was convinced that I found the right place to apply for an internship. Firstly, SRAL conservators have different specialisations and expertise, which enabled me to observe different conservation problems and approaches. Secondly, education plays a major role at SRAL. As a partner of the University of Amsterdam, SRAL staff members are teaching post-graduate paintings conservation students. Lastly, the continuous research conducted at SRAL, which influences the treatment of objects, helps to find the best possible way to conserve cultural heritage.
At SRAL I worked on the conservation and restoration of a painting from the early nineteenth century that belongs to the interior of a church in Voerendaal, a small village near Maastricht. During the treatment I learned to remove degraded varnish with a tissue-gel technique. Also, I mildly applied steam to remove even the dirt and varnish in the cracks, while protecting the surface of the painting to prevent mechanical stresses. Another interesting treatment was the application of the strip-lining with a mixture of acrylic dispersions, which is a more reversible binder than the commonly used BEVA 371 foils. I also got to participate in a workshop about mist-lining, where I've learned a lot about modern lining techniques.
To sum up, I’m very thankful for learning so much and spending my time with the very friendly and helpful staff of SRAL.