(Or Fiction that Acknowledges the
Existence of Conservation and Conservators)
Rebecca Anne Rushfield & Patricia S.
If you have additions, updates, or corrections, please send them
to Rebecca A. Rushfield <email@example.com>
- Aridjis, Chloe
- Marie, the main character, is a guard in the National Gallery,
London where her great-grandfather had been a guard. As the novel
progresses, Marie becomes increasingly fascinated by the craquelure in
the paintings' surfaces.
- Banks, Oliver
The Caravaggio Obsession
- Contains a description of the conservation of a painting
- Banville, John
Athena: A Novel
New York: Alfred A. Knopf; Distributed by Random House, 1995. 232 p.
- An art expert with a criminal past authenticating paintings for
a gang meets a woman who seems to have emerged from ONE OF the
- Barnes, Julian
- The lives and loves of a group of friends including two
- Bonfiglioli, Kyril
Don't Point That Thing at Me.
1973; reprint 2004.
- Charlie Mortdecai, a London art dealer, arranges the theft of a
Goya for an American tycoon. The book includes descriptions of
technical matters like the transfer of paintings and the use of
ultraviolet light to spot retouching
- Bradley, John Ed
- A restorer in New Orleans and a WPA mural that was whitewashed
to avoid a scandal. An analogy between covering/uncovering
paintings and passing as white in the South. The artist was a
light-skinned black man and his granddaughter is the restorer.
- Brooks, Geraldine
People of the Book.
Viking Adult, 2008. 384 pages.
- It is 1996 and Hanna Heath, an Australian book conservator has
been asked to analyze and treat the Sarajevo Haggadah which has been
salvaged from a Bosnian museum.
- Carey, Peter
The Chemistry of Tears
- Catherine Gehrig, a conservator who is mourning the death of her
colleague and longtime secret lover, is given the challenging
project of restoring a 19th century mechanical duck. Catherine's
project is based on the real life conservation of a silver swan
automaton undertaken by Matthew Read of West Dean College.
- Carlisle, Kate
Homicide in hardcover
- Brooklyn Wainwright, a restorer of books, must both finish her
mentor's work and find his killer after he is murdered.
- Charney, Noah
The Art Thief.
Washington Square Press: 2008.
- A very poorly written story of art theft and forgery with a
minor character, Genevieve Delacloche, who trained as a conservator.
- Clavir, Miriam
Bayeux Arts Inc.2012.
- Berry Cates, a middle aged conservation intern at the University
of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology uncovers a forger and
solves a murder mystery as she tries to do her job..
- Cohen, Arthur Allen
Artists & Enemies: Three Novellas
Boston: Godine, 1987. 274 p.
- A collection of three novellas in the first, an artist who
wanted to be great, but lacks talent, must find glory in restoring
the masters' works
- Coker, Carolyn
Appearance of Evil
New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. 244 p.
- Art restorer Andrea Perkins working on a commission at the
Huntington Museum in Southern California gets drawn into a murder
- Colt, Cassandra
A brush With Passion
Columbus, Miss.: Genesis Press Inc., 2000. 276 p.
- Part of the Secret Library Series—Erotica for Women by
Women, it features Nina Ashton who comes to Los Angeles to carve out
her career in fine art restoration.
- Connor, Beverly
One Grave Too Many
- Murder and mayhem in a natural history museum involves
the usual suspects including the conservator
- Coomer, Joe
- A stray parrot flies into the lives of an officer with the Texas
Courtesy Patrol and a sensuous repairer of books.
- De Bernières, Louis
New York: Pantheon Books, 1994. 437 p.
- Set in Greece in the early days of World War II. Speaks a lot
about the technology of instrument manufacture in the Baroque
- Dick, Philip K.
- Joe Fernwright is a restorer of old ceramics in a future when
the Earth is overcrowded , but few get anything worthwhile to do.
Fernwright's problem is that there are almost no ceramics left to
restore. He is rescued from this hopelessly meaningless existence
when he is contacted by an alien being, the Glimmung, who hires him
to help in the complicated task of raising and restoring an ancient
cathedral from the ocean floor of distant Plowman's planet.
- Disher, Gerry
"Straight, Bent and Barbara Vine"
Allen & Unwin, 1998
- A collection of short stories including one in which a conservator
Restoring a flood-damaged Venetian crypt suspects that he has been
implicated in a murder.
- Dunbar, Catherine
- A murder mystery featuring a paintings conservator
- Faber, Michel
The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps
- A romance featuring a shell-shocked paper conservator recuperating
on an archaeological dig and a handsome local doctor with
a neurotic dog
- Fairstein, Linda
The Bone Vault
- A mystery in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cloisters, and
the Museum of Natural History. An intern is found dead in a mummy
sarcophagus, poisoned by pigments used in the conservation of
- Forbes, Leslie
Bantam, June 29, 2004 448 p.
- Charlotte, a paintings conservator visits the Italian city of
Urbino to take part in a documentary about Raphael. One of his paintings
is damaged in an attack by a woman and Charlotte oversees the
conservation process. Contains some great descriptions of "conservators"
thinking and observations on self perception and the perception of others
about the conservation process.
- Frucht, Abby
Life Before Death 1997
- A story of a 40 year old woman dying from cancer, but, since she
is a curator at a historical society which has just burnt down in a
fire, it includes a rather good description of museum employees
working to salvage what remains of the collection and prepare it for
- Funke, Cornelia
- In this fantasy for older children, 12 year old Maggie and her
father Mo, a book conservator, travel the countryside repairing
books. One night, Dustfinger, a character from a book who Mo had
brought to life some time before, shows up and the adventure begins.
Maggie and her father also appear in Inkspell, a 2005 sequel to
- Gaddis, William
A Frolic of His Own
- One of the characters is a sculptor who is suing to prevent the
destruction of one of his works--an enormous outdoor installation in
which a dog has become trapped
- Goodrum, Robert A.
1977; Harper & Row paperback 1988. 245 p.
- The story involves the authenticity of some items in a rare book
collection. A book conservator who works in a locked cage in the
stacks of a library is found brutally murdered.
- Hammond, Gerald
Grail for Sale
Severn House, 2002. 224 p.
- Scottish historian Jeremy Carpenter and American antiques
dealer Hazel Tripp team up to get back at a man who has injured
them. In the course of the plot which involves a forged antique and
the discussion of fabrication techniques, Hazel repairs a number of
- Houghteling, Sara
Pictures at an Exhibition
- After World War II, Max Berenzon—an impetuous young man
who yearns to fill the shoes of his elegant father who was an art
dealer and patron to the likes of Picasso and Matisse—searches
for his father's plundered art collection with the help of Rose, a
talented art connoisseur. The story includes descriptions of the art
works in the Louvre being prepared/packed for moving before Paris
was invaded by the German army during World War II.
- Hegarty, Francis
- A paintings restorer whose real life pales in comparison to the
vivid fantasies that she weaves around the paintings she restores
(and repaints) receives a commission to restore a collection in the
house of a recluse. He is an obsessed stalker type who has loved her
from afar. Contains much sexual pathology.
- Hines, Joanna
Angels of the Flood
Simon & Schuster Ltd, 2004.
- Paintings restorer Kate Howard receives a 16th century Italian
painting that has been crudely altered. This is the third such
painting she has seen in as many years. Despite unhappy memories of
the 1966 Florence Flood, she is drawn back to Italy to investigate.
- Holt, Victoria
King of the Castle
- The heroine is a 19th century art restorer hired by a French
count to restore the family paintings
- Holt, Victoria
The demon lover
Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1982. 377 p.
- This is a florid historical romance of the classic bodice-ripper
variety. Heroine whose virtue is seriously compromised whilst in a
purposefully drugged state is a miniature painter much like her
father. Technique and patronage is discussed.
- Hoving, Thomas
- Conservators unroll ancient scrolls
- Innes, Hammond
- The recovery of an old frigate locked in the ice in Antarctica
involves a young Englishman who is an expert on wood preservation
- Kreuger, Frederik H.
De restauratie. Op zoek naar de verdwenen stroken van de
- In Dutch. A fictional story about the missing parts from
Rembrandt's Night Watch
- Kurzweil, Allen
The Grand Complication
New York: Hyperion, 2001. 359 p.
- A NYPL reference librarian hired by a mysterious old man to do some
freelance research. There are a few scenes involving the cranky
conservator at the library, from whose workshop the main character
must smuggle a rare book he needs for his research.
- Lieberman, H.
The Girl with the Botticelli Eyes
- Botticelli show at the Metropolitan Museum; painting is damaged
and sent to an Italian restoration atelier in a climate controlled
- Llewellyn, Caroline
The Masks of Rome 1989
- Canadian art restorer recovering from a bitter divorce in Rome
discovers that her employer's family masterpiece is a forgery.
- McKean, James
- A paintings restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art discovers a
and indulges in some time travel
- McLoed, Charlotte
The Resurrection Man
- This is one of a series featuring Boston art detective Max
Bittersohn and his wife Sarah Kelling. Recently treated works of art
go missing and signs point to the involvement of newly arrived art
restored Bartolo Arbalest.
- Michaels, Anne
- The fictional story of a Polish Jewish man who was smuggled out
of Poland and to Greece by a Greek archaeologist who is an expert in
the conservation of waterlogged wood
- Murphy Corella, Daniella
- A conservator uncovers a lost fresco in a remote Italian church.
- Ondaatje, Michael
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. 311 p.
- An artisan is brought to Buduruvagala in Sri Lanka to oversee
the reconstruction of a 120 foot high statue of the Buddha which had
- O'Neill, Rose
The Lady in the White Veil
- A stolen and forged work by Titian features in the story. Oscar, the
forger, claims to have been driven mad by the fact that he is the one
living man who knows what pigments Titian used.
- Pears, Iain
Death and restoration
London: HarperCollins, 1996. 223 p.
- A mystery involving an American paintings restorer and a
- Perez-Reverte, Arturo
The Flanders Panel
- A hidden chess-related inscription surfaces during the cleaning
of a 15th century Flemish painting and Julia, the young Spanish art
restorer who makes the discovery, turns to others for help in
intuiting its meaning; murder follows.
- Peters, Elizabeth (aka Barbara Michaels)
The Ape Who Guards the Balance: An Amelia Peabody
New York, N.Y.: Avon Twilight, c1998. 376 p.
- One of the more recent books n the Amelia Peabody mysteries set
in the dawn of the modern era of Egyptology (pre-discovery of Tut's
Tomb). Some discussion of "proper" conservation practices straight
out of Lucas (ie. paraffin/wax impregnation).
- Price, Reynolds
The Good Priest's Son
New York: Scribner, 2005. 278 p.
- A middle aged art conservator of some renown(with a degree from
the University of Delaware program) copes with 9-11, his aging
father's health, and his own health crisis⅀the onset of multiple
sclerosis⅀but not with many works of art.
- Resnicow, Herbert
The Gold Frame
- A murder mystery in which one of the characters is an obsessive,
paranoid, anal-retentive conservator.
- Roth, Phillip
The Dying Animal
- One of academic David Kepesh's ex-wives, mentioned but not seen,
is an art restorer
- Shapiro, B.A.
The Art Forger
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2012.
- Claire Roth, a painter of "commissioned reproductions" is asked
by a dealer to copy a painting that is suspiciously like the Degas
stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. Much about
the logistics of forgery and attribution.
- Shapiro, Dani
Knopf, 2003, 288 p.
- The protagonist is a freelance paintings restorer whose family
life is falling apart.
- Shoup, Barbara
Faithful Women: A Novel
- The story moves around in time and place, but includes a
detailed description of how to restore a painting
- Strutton, Bill
The Carpaccio caper
New York, Coward, McCann & Geoghegan  191 p.
- Forgery and descriptions of conservation
- Styron, Alexandra
All the Finest Girls
- A New York art restorer faces some ugly truths about her family when she
seeks out the kin of the Caribbean housekeeper who raised her.
- Tartt, Donna
- While the story of how a terrorist bombing in the Metropolitan
Museum of Art which kills his mother and propels him to steal a painting
affects the life of 13 year old Theodore Decker, a furniture restorer is
an important character and there are many descriptions of the
examination and restoration/reconstruction of furniture.
- Swan, Thomas
The Cézanne chase
New York: Newmarket Press, 1997. 307 p.
- Two Cezanne portraits are destroyed in an attempt to manipulate
the black market in art; many descriptions of the forensic
examination of works of art to determine provenance/authenticity
- Vickers, Sally
Miss Garnet's Angel
- A romance novel featuring two conservators in Venice restoring
mosaics and stonework with an intertwining thread of the story of
the Book of Tobit
- Watkins, Paul
New York: Picador USA, 2000. 1st ed. 322 p. ISBN: 031226593X.
- A young American goes to Paris before World War II to study art
under an expatriate Russian artist who was once a restorer but who
is now a forger. The two of them forge classical works which they
trade to the Nazis for modern paintings.
- Watson, Peter
The Caravaggio conspiracy: how five art dealers, four
policemen, three picture restorers, two auction houses, and a
journalist plotted to recover some of the world's most beautiful
Double-dealer Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, c1984. 321 p.
- Investigative reporter poses as dealer to recover stolen
paintings. Many descriptions of connoisseurship/authentication
procedures and techniques of old master paintings. Journalist Peter
Watson pretends to be a dealer with a limp to uncover stolen art
market. Connoisseurship is the bottom line. Technique and state of
preservation including restoration are discussed for many artists
and specific works.
- Zwargerman, Joost
- A novel in which a conservator is an important character and in
which a valuable painting by Mark Rothko is copied, stolen, and
accidentally damaged. Commissioned in 2011 as the "Book Week in the
Netherlands" giveaway book and distributed to hundreds of thousands
of people free of charge
- Zuravleff, Mary Kay
The Bowl is already broken.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- In this farce of museum life, a valuable bowl is "accidentally"
dropped during a public presentation of the gift in a museum that
bears a strong resemblance to the Freer Gallery. The museum employs
a conservation staff consisting of six Japanese men and an American
woman who eats only raw food.
- Hawthorne, Nathaniel
"Edward Randolph's Portrait>
- Alice Vane, a pale, ethereal artist disrupts the war
deliberations of a Colonial council when she cleans a grimy portrait
hanging in the chambers, revealing a dark omen.
- Lively, Penelope
Viking Adult, 2005
- Short story in the collection Making It Up. Middle aged
conservator of ethnographic objects finds love when she asks a
freelance conservator working for her institution to restore a
locket that had belonged to her dead half-sister.
- Mason, Bobbie Ann
"With Jazz" Published in The New Yorker, February 26,
- The main character's daughter is divorced from a museum director
who restored old pieces of pottery (Note: "He made a good living")
- Warner, Sylvia Townsend
"A Saint (Unknown) With Two Donors," in One Thing Leading to
- Mr. Edom and his assistant, Mr. Collins, "restore" a stolen
- ——— "The Three Cats," in One
Thing Leading to Another
- A mention of family portraits being cleaned by the caretaker at
the auction rooms who does it in his spare time using a cleaner
called Roll It Off
Forgery and descriptions of conservation
- Bantock, Nick
The Venetian's Wife
- Sarah Wolf, a bored paintings restorer corresponds with a ghost
with more than a passing interest in the Kama Sutra ( is the author
of Griffin and Sabine)
- Barnes, Julian
Talking It Over
- A retelling of the Truffaut classic Jules and Jim
in which the female is a paintings restorer and the victorious male
applies the term reversibility, as used by conservators, to
- Carr, J. L.
A Month in the Country 1980
- In 1920, a restorer of wall paintings emotionally and physically
affected by his service in WWI and an archaeologist working nearby
search for a 14th century grave
- Cass, Zoe
A Twist in the Silk
- A romance novel about a textile conservator
- Child, Lincoln; Preston, Douglas J. & Colacci,
- At the Museum of natural History, a male ethnographic
conservator stumbles upon the remains of victim number 1 in the
first few pages and quits his job. The heroine, a graduate student
in evolutionary biology shares an office with a young female
conservator working on a collection of masks who is disparaged for
the slowness with which her work proceeds. Many museum employees are
murdered before the story ends.
- Coker, Carolyn
The Other David
- A suspense novel featuring Andrea, a young American restorer of
Renaissance paintings who does a lot of analytical testing of
samples (e.g. carbon-14 dating) by herself
- Davies, Robertson
What's Bred in the Bone 1985
- In the 1930s, Francis Cornish becomes an apprentice to the
greatest restorer of paintings who doesn't just restore paintings
but "improves" them. Cornish creates his own works which are proved
authentic by other experts
- Dela, Helena
The Count. A modern fairy tale
London: Piatkus, 1999
- Ella is about to lose her job in the book restoration department
of the British Library due to outsourcing. She marries a German
count, breaks a family curse, and restores the ancestral castle in
the Alps with the help of conservation students and some ghosts.
- Dunnett, Dorothy
- Niccolo, the main character lives in Bruges in the 15th century
and is involved in the textile industry; there is a lengthy
discourse on lake dyes
- Harvey, John
In a True Light
Carroll & Graf, 2003. 256 p.
- Sloane, a painter recently released from prison after serving
time for art forgery looks for the grown daughter he has not seen in
years. Art forgery is discussed but is tangential to the plot.
- Hellenga, Robert
The Sixteen Pleasures
Warner Books. 327 pages. 1994
- An American paper conservator goes to Florence to help out after
the flood and has an affair with an Italian paintings restorer
The Italian Lover., Little, Brown and Company. 2007. 352 pages
- It is the year 1990 and book conservator Margot Harrington who
we first met in 1966 in Florence saving flood damaged rare books
in Hellenga's book âThe Sixteen Pleasuresâ is still conserving books
there. A film crew has come to make a movie of the book she wrote
about her experience finding a rare erotic Renaissance volume.
- Hillerman, Tony
- A conservator with a limp who is 1/16th Native American
recreates artworks for displays so that he can repatriate the
- Inchbald, Peter
Short Break in Venice 1984
- A Scotland Yard Art and Antiquities Squad detective who knows a
great deal about art restoration is on vacation in Venice and
becomes involved in the vandalism by right-wing terrorists of art
- Johnson, Terry
Play Royal Court Theater, London: 2003.
- Two characters look at deteriorated film canisters containing
unfinished works by Hitchcock. The conditions of the film strips as
well as treatments to separate the celluloid are described.
- Kaewert, Julie
- One of a series of books about British book publisher Alex
Plumtree, it features book restorers and book conservators.
- One of a series of books about British book publisher Alex
Plumtree, it features book restorers and book conservators.
- Langton, Jane
Murder at the Gardner 1988
- Descriptions of conservation
- Lester, Judy (Dr. Leslie Carlyle)
Masterpiece of Deception: An Art Mystery
- An art restorer and a fraud involving an overpainted panel
- McDonald, Frank
- Descriptions of conservation
- Michaels, Barbara
- In this mystery, after a broken marriage, Karen Nevitt returns
to her old home town and opens a vintage clothing store. Included
are mentions of the cleaning and restoration of costume pieces.
Stitches in Time
Harper Collins, 1991
- A cursed antebellum quilt wrecks havoc for the owners and
employee of an antique shop specializing in textiles. They do their
own cleaning and conservation and there is some discussion of dry
and wet cleaning as well as handling issues.
Vanish with the Rose
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991. 348 pages
- In this mystery, Diana goes to a small town posing as a
landscape architect to investigate what happened to her missing
brother. A minor character is a textile conservator at the local
- Miglis, John
- Restoration of The Night Watch
- Murray, Yxta Maya
New York: Harper Collins, 2002
- Sara Gonzales a restorer of rare books and manuscripts at the
Getty Museum is assigned the restoration of a 16th century book
called The Conquest. The narrative alters between Sara's story and
the story told in The Conquest.
- Olaffson, Olaf
- In one of several interconnected plots, Kristin Jonsdottir, a young
Icelandic painter, living in Rome in the 1940s serving as both apprentice and
lover to Robert Marshall, famed restorer of, and dealer in, Italian Renaissance
masterworks uses a heavily damaged but minor painting as a template to
create what she will present as a hitherto undiscovered Caravaggio. The
painting ends up in German hands
- Philipson, Morris H.
Somebody Else's Life: A Novel New York: Harper &
Row, 1987. 298 p.
- Cook, Robin
- Mainly a thriller about black market in egyptian antiquities.
Heroine comically authenticates Egyptian artifacts because the paint
is not water (spit) soluble. Also made into a movie starring
Stephanie Zimbalist, Frank Langella, and Tut inspired "props".
- Pottinger, Stanley
A Slow Burning
- One of the main characters is Camilla Bissonette, an
architectural conservator who worked on the Statue of Liberty. (Her
recovery from a coma brought on by a violent crime is an important
part of the plot.)
- Roberts, Nora
New York: Jove Books, 1999.
- Art theft and forgery of Renaissance bronzes in a glamorized
world of archeometry labs in Florence and art institutes in new
England complete with "labs", conservation studios, students, and
opening nights of exhibitions.
- Sontag, Susan
The Volcano Lover
- Several pages about the Portland Vase (British Museum
Collection) being shattered by a vandal in 1845, repaired, and
reconstructed again in 1989 (This description is a counterpoint to a
discussion of whether a reputation, once shattered, can be put back
- Silva, Daniel
The Kill Artist
Random House, 2000
- One of a series of books about Gabriel Allon, a paintings
restorer who is also a Mossad agent
The English Assassin
- One of a series of books about Gabriel Allon, a paintings
restorer who is also a Mossad agent
- Gabriel Allon, a paintings restorer who is also a Mossad agent
is sent from his current project in a Venetian church to investigate
the death of a Jewish scholar in Munich.
A Death in Vienna
- One of a series of books about Gabriel Allon, a paintings
restorer who is also a Mossad agent
Prince of Fire.
- In Venice and about to restore a Rubens painting, art restorer
and Israeli agent Gabriel Allon is called away to investigate the
bombing of the Israeli embassy in Rome which was masterminded by
French archaeologist Paul Martineau.
The Secret Servant
- Six months after the conclusion of his last case, art restorer
and assassin Gabriel Allon has returned to Umbria to resume his
honeymoon and restore a 17th century altarpiece for the Vatican, but
when a former Russian intelligence officer and defector vanishes, he
must go back to spy work.
- Truman, Margaret
Murder at the Library of Congress
Fawcett, 2001. Paperback 320 pages. ISBN: 031226593X. ISBN:
- Annabel Reed Smith a gallery owner has been asked to write an
article on Columbus for the Library of Congress's magazine. She
finds the premier expert on him dead in the Library&8212;killed by
the paper conservator's trapezoidal lead weight. Members of the
Library's conservation staff appear in the story.
Murder at the White House
- Conservation is not central to the plot. However, a conservator
from the National gallery must determine whether or not the
Caravaggio can travel
- Unsworth, Barry
Stone Virgin 1986
- A story which moves from 1432, when a likeness of the Madonna is
carved, to 1972, when a young Englishman comes to Venice to restore
- Vickers, Salley
Miss Garnet's Angel 2001
- Judy Garnet, a retired London school teacher goes to Venice
where she befriends a number of people including a pair of British
twins who are restoring a 14th century chapel
- Wesley, Mary
Second Fiddle 1989
- The main character is Laura Thornby, an art restorer who divides
her time between London, where she repairs classical statues, and
her mother's home in the country
- Der Amerikanische
Directed by Wim Wenders, Germany, 1977
- An art restorer becomes involved in a murderous scheme in this
existential take on the American gangster film.
- Antigua vida mia
Directed by Hèctor Olivera, Argentina, 2001
- The film tells the story of two friends, a singer/songwriter and
an art restorer. Based on a novel of the same name by the Chilean
writer Marcela Serrano.
Directed by Claudio Sestrieri, Italian, 1991
- Human emotions in the modern world of telecommunications are
examined through the relationships of Valeria, a student in fine art
Directed by Mel Smith, English, 1997
- Mr. Bean (Roland Atkinson) is a London museum guard who is hated
by his co-workers who send him to Los Angeles in the company of
"Whistler's Mother". He is mistaken as an art expert by the
well-meaning curator of an L.A. museum. Bean's eccentric behavior,
which includes the surface cleaning of the aforementioned painting,
almost cost him his job and family.
- Belle ar Bar
- Romantic comedy about the friendship between an unhappily
married male restorer and a transvestite who meet years after a
childhood friendship when they are trapped in an elevator (The
restorer is obsessive, methodical and phobic.)
Directed by Richard Jefferies, 1982.
- A horror movie set in the Greek Isles featuring James Earl Jones
as an American treasure hunter. Includes a scene of a restorer
removing strappo from a painting to reveal older paintings beneath.
Directed by David Kane, British, 2000
- Romantic comedy with a main character who works as a paintings
conservator in London.
- La casa dalle finestre
Directed by Pupi Avati, Italy, 1976
- A horror movie set in Italy in the 1950s. A young art restorer
arrives in a small town to restore and finish a fresco. Bad things
Directed by Damian Harris, 1991
- Goldie Hawn and her best friend/business partner run a
conservation studio in New York. Life is great until her husband is
revealed to be a bigamist, fraud, faker and killer. A conservation
scientist is killed in the initial sequence after performing a
microchemical fizz test on an Egyptian artifact
Directed by Francesca Archibugi, Italy, 2001
- An ensemble film set in a small Umbrian town after an
earthquake. One of the many story lines includes that of an English
art restorer and his troubled wife.
- The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Directed by Hosoda, Mamoru, Japan 2006
- In this animated science fiction film, seventeen-year-old Makoto
Konno who lives with her parents and younger sibling Miyuki in Tokyo
gains the power of time travel. Her aunt Kazuko Yoshiyama is an art
restorer at the Tokyo National Museum.
- Don't Look Now
Directed by Nicholas Roeg, late 1970s
- Donald Sutherland is in Venice restoring a church (but this can
be overlooked amidst occult nuances, sex and bloody murder)
Directed by Ivan Reitman, 1989
- Sigourney Weaver making ends meet by working in a paintings
restoration studio on a possessed painting under the supervision of
a lecherous, soon to be possessed, "European" restorer
- Un Etrange
Also known as On the Track, Les Voyageurs,
The Travellers, A Strange Voyage, and
A Strange Journey.
Directed by Alain Cavalier, 1980
- The mother of a middle aged male art restorer disappears during
a train journey. The restorer and his estranged daughter
- Hard Rain
Also known as The Flood
Directed by Mikael Salomon, 1998
- Minnie Driver plays a church restorer who manages to save her
work and her town from rising Waters and marauding robbers
- Head Over
Directed by Mark S. Waters, 2001
- An art restorer working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art falls
for a fashion executive played by Freddie Prinze, Jr.
- Home for the
Directed by Jody Foster, 1995
- Holly Hunter plays a paintings conservator who goes home for
Thanksgiving after being fired by her museum because they lost their
- Hudson Hawk
Directed by Michael Lehmann, USA, 1991
- Andie MacDowell plays a Vatican art restorer in this movie that
has Bruce Willis involved in a scheme to steal three paintings in
order to retrieve an alchemical device.
- Leonardon Ikkunat Finland, 1986
- Maria and Marco, two restorers who have been working for 12
years on The Last Supper begin to identify with the figures in the
- Love, etc.
Directed by Marion Vernoux, France, 1996
- This film follows three main characters through love,
friendship, suspicion and remorse. One of them is an art restorer
played by charlotte Gainsbourg.
- Manchas de sangre en
un coche nuevo (Blood Stains in a New Car)
Directed by Antonio Mercero, Spanish, 1975
- A wealthy male art restorer does not stop to help at a terrible
accident because he does not want to get his new car dirty
- La Madre
Directed by Juanma Bajo Ullöa, 1993
- A paintings restorer is killed in a bungled burglary. Years
later the burglar develops a relationship with her mute, mentally
- Meridian: Mark of the
Also known as Kiss of the Beast and
Directed by Charles Band, 1990
- Sherilyn Fenn plays the Lady of the castle. Her best friend
works in an Italian restoration studio and is restoring a 15th
century painting from the castle by brushing away an ugly modern
painting which was painted over it (A proto-Twin Peaks European
Directed by Nora Ephron, 1996
- An angel puts a cue stick through a painting in a pool hall
brawl; the judge at the arraignment claims to know a good
- Il Momento
dell'Avventura (The Moment of Adventure)
Directed by Faliero Rosati, Italian, 1983
- A museum restorer makes copies of sculpture to replace the
originals which he sells to a dealer. He discovers an ancient map to
an undiscovered archaeological site and sets off with a forger to
find the treasure.
- A Month in the
Directed by Pat O'Connor, English, 1987
- A restorer of wall paintings in a country church and an
archeologist (played by Kenneth Branaugh) working nearby solve a
mystery using their two disciplines
Directed by Brian DePalma, 1976.
- Genevieve Bujold plays a paintings conservator/technician who is
cleaning a mural in an Italian chapel. The film is inspired by
- El Pájaro de
la felicidad (The Bird of Happiness)
Directed by Pilar Miró 1993
- A Spanish paintings restorer is brutally raped and comes to
terms with the experience
- A Question of
Directed by John Schlesinger, 1992 (made for British television)
- Adapted from the play by Alan Bennett. James Fox as Sir Anthony
Blunt, Director of the Courtauld, whose involvement in the
Burgess-Maclean-Philby spy scandal of the 1950s is revealed while he
is restoring a Titian from the collection
- Raiders of the Lost
Directed by Stephen Spielberg, 1981
- Indiana Jones, an archaeologist performs conservation treatments
like cleaning sandstone hieroglyphs using a gentle air current and
restoring a staff (which enables him to locate the lost ark)
- The Red Violin
Directed by François Girard, Canadian, 1998
- The movie follows the life of a red violin from 17th century
Italy to late 20th century Montreal. The violin is almost destroyed
in China during the Cultural Revolution, but is saved and sent to an
auction house in Montreal where Samuel L. Jackson is a specialist
who traces its provenance.
From a review
by Steve Rhodes
"The plot is an intriguing one. A dishonest violin restorer, Charles
Morritz ([Samuel L.] Jackson), believes he has located Nicolo
Bussotti's famous red violin. Described as the "single most perfect
acoustical machine" ever, the violin has had a long and troubled
history. The movie skips back to its controversial birth in 1681 and
then flashes forward and backward in time as it traces the violin's
Directed by Frederico Fellini, 1972
- Contains a scene in which workmen building a subway line uncover
a brilliant-colored ancient Roman mosaic which, exposed to air and
light for the first time in centuries, fades and vanishes before
- The Relic
Directed by Peter Hyams, 1997
- Although conservators figure more prominently in the book (see
plot summary under Books), Linda Hunt brings some undistinguished
hunks of rock to the restoration studio--a dark hole with one female
presiding--where she uses a flexible shaft and rotating bit to clean
the statue, reassembles it and gives the audience its first real
look at the monster
- Running Woman
Directed by Rachel Samuels, USA, 1998
- An art restorer goes undercover to track down car jackers who
killed her son.
- The Seventh
Directed by Carl Schultz, 1988
- Demi Moore plays a pregnant paintings restorer who is also the
reincarnation of Mary Magdalene. The latter information takes
precedence for the film's plot and, although she saves the souls of
all humanity, she does not save any art on screen
Directed by Jayakody, Prasanna
Film Sri Lanka, 2006.
- The inner struggles of a young Buddhist monk who comes to
restore a village temple's paintings and finds himself attracted to
a village girl. He is shown over painting the murals using
traditional materials and techniques.
- Six Degrees of
Directed by Fred Schepisi, 1993
- In one scene, the Kittredges, an art dealer and wife visit the
Sistine Chapel while it is undergoing restoration
- Tea With
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli, 1999dd>An amateur artist played by
Judi Dench and her friends save the medieval church of San Gemignano
during World War II. Dench then retouches the damaged frescoes
- Toy Story
Directed by Ash Brannon &John Lasseter, 1999
- Scene showing woody being restored
- Vasarma's Lovers
Directed by Madhurika Sona Jain, USA, 2000
- This film is 12 minutes long. Vasarma, the great Indian artist
of the 18th century is famous for his lost masterpiece which he tore
up upon the death of his lover. Over 200 years later, one half of
the same painting surfaces in an art conservator's studio in British
Also known as The Flemish Board (La Tabla de
Directed by Jim McBride, Great Britain and Spain, 1994
- (See Books for a description of the story) A never-released
movie(?) with Kate Beckinsale as Julia, the art restorer heroine
- What Dreams May
Directed by Vincent Ward, USA, 1998
- Robin William's wife is a painter and art conservator in this
film set primarily in a visually stunning afterlife.
- Building Sympathy: The Richard Nickel Story
Produced at the Center Theater Ensemble, Chicago, Nov.- Dec. 1997
- An architectural preservationist/photographer and his quest to
preserve Chicago landmarks
- Bennett, Alan
A Question of Attribution
- A one act play first performed in 1988 which formed the basis of a
1992 television film of the same name broadcast as part of the BBC's
Screen One series. It portrays Anthony Blunt's interrogation by MI5
officers, his work, and his acquaintance with the Queen. While
supervising the restoration of a dual portrait questionably attributed
to Titian, Blunt discovers a third figure that had been painted over by
an unknown artist. In a scene with the Queen, she and Blunt briefly
discuss the Dutch Vermeer forger Han van Meegeren, and how his paintings
now look like fakes, but were accepted as genuine in the (early) 1940s,
and touch on the nature of fakes and secrets.
- Djerassi, Carl
American premier May-June 2007
- Regina is an art historian at a world famous museum who has
invested her career in a classical statue long thought to be a Roman
original. Rex is a distinguished chemist who analyses it and finds
it to be a 16th century cast. Personal rivalries and professional
reputations clash as each tries to prove the other wrong.
- Edgar, David
First staged at the Royal Shakespeare Company in October 1994
- In a Romanesque church in southeastern Europe, an heroic
revolutionary mural is found to be covering a Byzantine wall
painting. The political thriller unfolds as conservators expose the
underlying painting and prepare to remove it safely
- Kramer, Sherry
What A Man Weighs
- Employees in a book conservation laboratory and their failed
- Lessac, Michael
House of Cards
- An architect who has spent several years working on an
archeological restoration in Mexico Returns home to North Carolina
with her two children, one of whom is autistic relationships
- Mud Angels
Tentindo, Luis director
first performed December 2009.
- The story of a book restorer working in Florence after the 1966
flood told as a puppet show.
- Shear, Claudia writer
first performed June 2009.
- A former rising star in the world of art restoration, now
working out of her Brooklyn garage get another chance to
reinvigorate her career when she is chosen to restore Michelangelo's
American television program
- Episode involving a book conservator replacing original volumes
with fakes while conducting an affair with the curator who ends up
British television program
- Gruff Scottish sleuth who meets the restorer from the Glasgow
Art Gallery and his wife who are buying his house.
- Early Edition
- The main character (who knows about the future from an early
edition of the newspaper that he receives) tries to prevent the
theft of a painting in the Chicago Museum of Art; a young paintings
restorer is cleaning the painting when he arrives at the Museum
BBC television movie
August 31,2009 released on PBS Video on January 11, 2011
- The story of a young boy in the poor Welsh village of Manod
whose life is changed when a convoy of trucks containing the
masterworks of the National Gallery (London) arrives in his village.
The National Gallery has flooded and the works are to be stored in
the mines outside of town where they were sent for safekeeping
during World War II. The man in charge of the operation is Quentin
Lester, a curator and not one of the National Gallery's many
- Law and Order
"Summer of 1996"
- The murderer of a coin dealer is a talented and obsessive
- Midsomer Murders: Beyond the Grave"
British TV Series
- A painting is vandalized and a conservator is brought to restore
it, but she becomes frightened in the supposedly haunted museum. In
separate incidents, she sees a fire in the museum and drops her
large painting to run and later she watches transfixed as the
"ghost" slowly pushes a sculpture off its table to shatter on the
- A Russian icon restorer is murdered early in the episode which
involves a conspiracy around Chernobyl.
"Mr. Monk and Little Monk"
Episode Premiere: August 26, 2005
- Detective Monk brings a defaced painting to a museum restorer. Among
other delights, the restorer carries out a condition examination in
the middle of the public gallery.
British television program
- "[episode title?]"
Middle aged artist who restores art in his dry periods while
conducting an affair with a teenaged pupil and murdering.
- Northern Exposure
- "Nothing's Perfect", aired Oct 12, 1992
A retired American astronaut living in Alaska purchases an
antique German timepiece at great expense. The piece arrives
accompanied by a young German craftsman/restorer who assembles the
components and starts the mechanism. The new owner is upset that it
does not keep perfect time and tries to get the craftsman to "fix
it". The craftsman packs up the clock saying that anyone who demands
accuracy from a centuries old work of art does not deserve to own
it. Eventually the astronaut comes to accept the clock as it is and
the craftsman lets him keep it.
- "Dirty Bomb"
Aired: December 24, 2005 on CBS
Aronson Art Conservation in downtown Los Angeles is robbed of a
number of valuable paintings when that part of the city is evacuated
during a bomb scare.
Aired: Oct 6. 2006
In this episode about a Pissarro with tainted provenance, a
paintings conservator working alone at a small museum does
authentication, cleaning, and exhibition catalog preparation. The
story deals with theft, Nazi looting, forgery, and authentication.
Using a catalog image, mathematician Charlie Eppes analyzes the
painting surface, specifically craquelure and brush stroke
morphology, the latter using the curvelet transform.
- "Crest White Strips"
Appeared July 2001
- Version 1: An art restorer named Barbara works on a ceiling
painting as a narrator voices the wonderful brightening powers of
"Crest White Strips"
Version 2: An objects conservator polishes silver from a wrecked
- Sidral Mundet presenta: Dando vida al arte
- Mexican restorer Consuelo Chufani and her work are profiled
(and cans of Sidral Mundet soft drink are shown on the side of her
This section deals with works that, while not primarily about
conservation or conservators, contain material that in one way or another
provides information about the perception of the conservation profession
in media or the public imagination
- Homes, A.M.
"Brother on Sunday"
The New Yorker, March 2, 2009. (Short story)
- Contains a description of one of the characters--a plastic surgeon:
"He thinks about Botox and Restylane and lasering spider veins and
resurfacing a face and sometimes he feels like a conservator, like the
guy he once sat next to at a dinner, who worked at the Met, touching up
art works when they chipped or when the ceiling leaked on them".
all CoOL documents]
Timestamp: Monday, 07-Apr-2014 15:29:04 PDT
Retrieved: Wednesday, 16-Apr-2014 13:10:10 GMT