Curatorial trainees: May update

Lucy West and Sylvie Broussine are the Art Fund's current curatorial trainees at the National Gallery, working with regional partners Ferens Art Gallery and Auckland Castle. Here, they share their second update.

Lucy West – Ferens Art Gallery
Lucy West, curatorial trainee Photo © the National Gallery, London

Lucy West, curatorial trainee


Photo © the National Gallery, London

A lot has happened over the last six months, and I am now writing my second blog post from my new desk at the Ferens Art Gallery! I moved to Hull at the beginning of April, and am already enjoying embarking on the next stage of my project and exploring a new city, where plans are in full swing for what will be a very exciting City of Culture 2017.

Over the past few months at the National Gallery, my training programme has been progressing, alongside work on current and future exhibitions – and I am continuing to learn all of the time. Recent highlights were my courier training trips to the Barber Institute, Birmingham, and the Royal Academy, London. These were great opportunities to gain first-hand experience in the transportation of artworks, and I enjoyed seeing National Gallery works displayed in different contexts.

Ahead of my move, I have been progressing with my research into the early religious Old Master paintings in Ferens’ permanent collection. This has involved investigating attributions and provenance, with invaluable advice from the National Gallery curators and Research Centre. My findings for each of the paintings are compiled into a dossier, which can then be referred back to and built upon in future.

I have also been continuing my research on Pietro Lorenzetti’s Christ between Saints Paul and Peter. This has been based both at the National Gallery, where I gained an insight into the current research being carried out by the Scientific Department for example, and has also taken me further afield to the Panshanger Archives in Hertfordshire, to delve into the panel’s more recent history. A talk which I gave at Hull Truck Theatre back in February was a great opportunity to draw everything together and spread the word about all things Lorenzetti. As January 2017 creeps ever closer, I have been working on display ideas and object lists, and I will be developing these plans further, now that I am based here with the Ferens team.

I am looking forward to seeing what the next chapter of my traineeship here in Hull will bring. It is certainly a vibrant and exciting moment to be joining the team, with so much on the horizon for both the museums service and the city.

Sylvie Broussine – Auckland Castle
Sylvie Broussine, curatorial trainee Photo © the National Gallery, London

Sylvie Broussine, curatorial trainee


Photo © the National Gallery, London

I have just begun my second week at Auckland Castle in County Durham, having completed six months' training at the National Gallery in many areas of curatorial practice. I am now settling into my new city and enjoying working with the Auckland Castle team.

While in London much of my focus was on working with collection curators on researching the paintings in Auckland Castle’s collection. This has included reading and collecting materials on paintings and taking trips to view relevant works of art. Under the guidance of my curatorial mentor at the gallery, I have brought this research together in dossiers which will be used as the foundation for the two research areas I will be working on during my time in County Durham: art works in the Spanish Gallery and paintings in the Castle.

I have also continued my involvement in different areas of curatorial practice at the National Gallery. For example, I attended numerous re-hangs of the permanent collection which provided me with a fantastic insight into the different approaches to displaying paintings. I also had the opportunity to be involved in the gallery’s public programme by carrying out ten-minute talks on a variety of artists including Zurbarán, Caravaggio and Turner.

Alongside these activities I enjoyed continuing Spanish language classes in which I focused on building my reading skills. My developing knowledge of Spanish is making a significant contribution to my research of Spanish paintings at Auckland Castle, as it enables me to engage with the necessary academic and historic materials.

Now I’m beginning the next stage of the traineeship I am looking forward to applying the skills, knowledge and experience I have gained so far to my work at Auckland Castle. It is particularly exciting to see how the research I have done so far is contributing to the projects in County Durham!

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