(Or Fiction that
Acknowledges the Existence of Conservation and
Rebecca Anne Rushfield & Patricia S. Griffin
If you have additions, updates, or corrections, please send
them to Rebecca A. Rushfield <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- 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
- 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)
- 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 paintings
- Barnes, Julian
- The lives and loves of a group of friends including two
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 relationships.
- Bonfiglioli, Kyril
Don't Point That Thing at Me.
Overlook Press 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
- 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
- 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
- Cass, Zoe
A Twist in the Silk
- A romance novel about a textile conservator
- 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
- 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
- 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..
- 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
- 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 investigation
- 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
- 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".
- Coomer, Joe
- A stray parrot flies into the lives of an officer with
the Texas Courtesy Patrol and a sensuous repairer of
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 illuminated manuscripts.
- 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 conservation
- 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 Inkheart.
- 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
- 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 antiques.
- 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
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 Ã¢The
Sixteen PleasuresÃ¢ 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
- 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
- Hillerman, Tony
- A conservator with a limp who is 1/16th Native American
recreates artworks for displays so that he can repatriate the
- 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
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.
King of the Castle
- The heroine is a 19th century art restorer hired by a
French count to restore the family paintings
- Hoving, Thomas
- Conservators unroll ancient scrolls
- 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.
- 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 shops
- Innes, Hammond
- The recovery of an old frigate locked in the ice in
Antarctica involves a young Englishman who is an expert on
- 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
- One of a series of books about British book publisher
Alex Plumtree, it features book restorers and book
- Kreuger, Frederik H.
De restauratie. Op zoek naar de verdwenen stroken van
- 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.
- Lester, Judy (Dr. Leslie Carlyle)
Masterpiece of Deception: An Art Mystery
- An art restorer and a fraud involving an overpainted
- Langton, Jane
Murder at the Gardner 1988
- Descriptions of conservation
- 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 crate
- 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
- 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
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 museum.
- McKean, James
- A paintings restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
discovers a Leonardo 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
- Miglis, John
- Restoration of The Night Watch
- Murphy Corella, Daniella
- A conservator uncovers a lost fresco in a remote Italian
- 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
- 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 been dynamited.
- 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
- Pears, Iain
Death and restoration
London: HarperCollins, 1996. 223 p.
- A mystery involving an American paintings restorer and a
- Perec, Georges
Portrait of a Man Known as Il Condottiere
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, English translation of 1960
manuscript. 2015. 144 p.
- Gaspard Winckler, a forger of painters, works for a group run
by Anatole Madera. After 12 years in this occupation, preceded by
four as an apprentice to Jérôme, an older forger who also works
for Madera, Winckler chooses as his next task, to create a
painting supposedly by Antonella da Messina, based on the
"Portrait of a Man known as Il Condottiere". Besides his
apprenticeship with Jérôme, Winckler had formal education in art
restoration at NYU?s program. Winckler holds nearly no-show cover
jobs among them as an art restorer at a Swiss art museum.
- 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
- 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.
- Philipson, Morris H.
Somebody Else's Life: A Novel New York: Harper
& Row, 1987. 298 p.
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Roth, Phillip
The Dying Animal
- One of academic David Kepesh's ex-wives, mentioned but
not seen, is an art restorer
- Rothschild, Hannah
The Improbability of Love
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. 407 p.
- In a London junk store, a young woman unknowingly buys a lost
painting by Antoine Watteau which had been looted during World War II.
Her purchase sets off a quest on her part to learn her painting's
identity and a quest on the part of many rich and venal people to take
possession of the work. A conservator at the National Gallery plays a
role in the story and there are descriptions of conservation practice
including test cleaning and preparing samples for examination.
- Scherm, Rebecca
Chicago: Viking, 2015. 320 p.
- After flunking our of college and instigating a
failed robbery of a historic house in Tennessee, Grace,
who was studying art history, flees to Europe where she
gets a job restoring antiques in a not very reputable
establishment where she gets involved in theft and
- Schine, Cathleen
They May Not mean To, But They Do
Sarah Crichton Books, 2016. 291p
- In this comic novel, Joy Bergman, a woman in her 80s and the
conservator at a small museum tries to cope with her husband's illness
and death and her family's desires for her future. Note: Her profession
plays a negligible part in the story, although she is "retired" from her
position by the new Director who wishes to bring vitality and energy to
the conservation department.>
- 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
- 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
- Siegal, Nina
The Anatomy Lesson: A Novel
- The story alternates between the year 1632 when a young
Rembrandt van Rijn is preparing to paint the guild portrait
that will become known as "The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp",
and the present day when a young conservator is dictating
notes about her study and treatment of that painting.
- 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
- 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 together.)
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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—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 it.
- Vickers, Salley
Miss Garnet's Angel 2001
- A romance novel featuring two conservators in Venice
restoring mosaics and stonework with an intertwining thread
of the story of the Book of Tobit.
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
- 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
- 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 stolen paintings
Double-dealer Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, c1984. 321
- 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.
- Wesley, Mary
- 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
- Witham, Larry
Archway Publishing, 2016.251p
- Amystery involving the Monuments Men and looted art, the art market and
Russian artcollectors and smugglers, and performance artists/computer hackers. The
hero Julian Peale, formerly of U.S. Navy Intelligence, works as a technician in the
Medici Studiosp ainting restoration concern.>
- Wisseman, Sarah
Five Star/Cengage Learning, 2015, 245p
- After her roommate and coworker is found murdered,
Flora Garibaldi, a young Italian American painting
restorer working in Siena for the family owned Restauro
Lorenzetti gets involved in the investigation of the
forgery of ancient Greek sculptures and an art smuggling
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Mason, Bobbie Ann
"With Jazz" Published in The New Yorker,
February 26, 1990
- 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 Another
- Mr. Edom and his assistant, Mr. Collins, "restore" a
"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
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
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 restoration
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
- Belle ar
- 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 Chris Columbus, United States 1999
- This film follows the 'life' and times of the lead
character, an android who is purchased as a household robot
programmed to perform menial tasks. It features a character
who performs restoration and called herself a preservation
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 che ridono
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 happen.
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
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.
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
- Don't Look
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
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,
- Un Etrange
Also known as On the Track, Les
Voyageurs, The Travellers, A
Strange Voyage, and A Strange
Directed by Alain Cavalier, 1980
- The mother of a middle aged male art restorer disappears
during a train journey. The restorer and his estranged
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
- 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,
- 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 NEA funding
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
- 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 painting
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
- 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 ill daughter.
- Meridian: Mark
of the Beast
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 production)
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
- 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 Hitchcock's Vertigo.
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
- 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
- Raiders of the
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
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 world travels."
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 their eyes
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
Directed by Rachel Samuels, USA, 1998
- An art restorer goes undercover to track down car jackers
who killed her son.
Directed by Jayakody, Prasanna, 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.
- Scream of
Directed by Steven C. Miller, USA, 2011
- [ Professor Isla Whelan is an archaeology professor who
apparently repairs pristine historic ceramic vases in her
spare time. With the help of two interns and her daughter,
she discovers a forgotten and dangerous artifact in a lost
room in the archives. Panic ensues when it turns out to be
the head of a banshee] > >
- 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
- 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
- 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
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 Columbia.
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
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
- Behold the Man
Composer: Fowler, Paul
Librettist: Andrew Flack
2015 (premier to take place in Boulder, Co in the Spring of 2016)
- Based on events in the news in 2012. In an attempt to save a
forgotten and sadly deteriorated fresco of Jesus, an elderly woman in
Spain tries her hand at its restoration, only to make matters worse.
Outrage is rampant and threats are made; even the spirit of the original
artist gets into the act. When a photo of her botched restoration goes
viral, tourists from the world over arrive—mysteriously drawn to her
efforts—helping revitalize the economy of the struggling town. Was it
a miracle? Great outsider art? A selfless act of faith? Or just another
- Written on Skin
First performed at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, July
Music: George Benjamin
Book: Martin Crimp
Staging: Katie Mitchell
Set: Vicki Mortimer
- A rich, powerful medieval land owner commissions an
artist to celebrate his life and the achievements of his
family in an extravagant illuminated book. As the artist
painstakingly creates his manuscript, he attracts the
attentions of the owner's much younger wife. The husband
kills the artist and forces his wife to eat his heart. She
jumps to her death from a balcony. In the present day, four
extras who are restoring the manuscript, reenact the events
described in it.
- Building Sympathy: The Richard Nickel
Produced at the Center Theater Ensemble, Chicago, Nov.- Dec.
- 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
- 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
- Kramer, Sherry
What A Man Weighs
- Employees in a book conservation laboratory and their
- 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
- 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
American television program
- Episode involving a book conservator replacing original
volumes with fakes while conducting an affair with the
curator who ends up killing her.
American television program
- "Angel of Death"
Season 6, Episode 5
Oct 30, 2011
Travis Marshall, a character in episodes 5- 12 of Season 6 also
known as The Doomsday Killer ( DDK) is tied to a series of murders
in Miami based on the Book of Revelations. Marshall studied at the University
of Tallahassee where he earned his Masters Degree in Art History and
at the Miami Museum of Art as a Conservator in Papers and Bindings.
He comes to attention because a unique glue he uses at work is found
at a murder site.
- 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
Episode Premier: May 16, 2013
- In a flashback, Holmes remembers how he met Irene Adler (the
woman with whom he fell in love) in her London painting
restoration studio where he went to consult on the authenticity
of a Turner. The two discuss something about turmeric not being
available due to the war in Afghanistan all while she never
looks up from her easel. While looking around the studio
Sherlock spots a forged painting by Irene and realizes he's met
his intellectual soul mate.
BBC television movie
August 31,2009 released on PBS Video on January 11,
- 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 conservators.
- 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 floor.
- 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
British television program
"Who Killed Harry Field? (1991)"
Middle aged artist who restores art in his dry periods
while conducting an affair with a teenaged pupil and
- 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.
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.
- Sleepy Hollow
USA, aired January 20, 2015
At the Sleepy Hollow Historical Society, a paintings
restorer working on a painting finds that it is bleeding.
The restorer is found dead at a party in which the picture
is on display.
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.
British television program
- Gruff Scottish sleuth who meets the restorer from the
Glasgow Art Gallery and his wife who are buying his
- "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
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 work table).
- Advertisement for Dolce & Gabbana "Rosa Excelsa" perfume
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore
- Sophia Loren is a mother who with her five sons restores the buildings of a crumbling Sicilian estate.
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
- Homes, A.M.
"Brother on Sunday"
The New Yorker, March 2, 2009. (Short
Contains a description of one of the characters--a plastic
"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
all CoOL documents]
Timestamp: Tuesday, 19-Jul-2016 14:16:55 PDT
Retrieved: Friday, 24-Mar-2017 02:00:22 GMT