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Subject: A death

A death

From: Joyce Hill Stoner <jstoner>
Date: Monday, November 3, 2003
Bettina Jessell, September 20, 1917-October 26, 2003

We are all very sad to relay the news of the October 26 death of
Bettina Jessell, paintings conservator, Fellow of the AIC and IIC,
Visiting Scholar at the Getty Museum in 1980, winner of the AIC Keck
award for teaching in 1996, and former gifted pupil of Helmut
Ruhemann and mentor to many young conservators.

Mrs. Jessell was born in 1917; her father was an organic chemist,
Professor Fritz Arndt.  She left Germany at the age of 14, studied
in Lausanne and then received her Diploma in painting and related
sciences in Vienna.  She was trained in paintings conservation by
Mr. Helmut Ruhemann in 1938 and 1939 and later worked in the UK as
Ruhemann's assistant or in collaboration with Viscount Alexander
Dunluce (now Lord Antrim), Lucy Dynevor, and Patrick Lindsay. During
World War II she also worked as a civil engineer. In 1950 she
married Hubert Jessell who worked for the British Embassy and the
Federal Aviation Authority; the couple moved to the U.S. for the
first time from 1968 to 1971 and returned as permanent residents in

Mrs. Jessell treated paintings for Monticello, the Washington
Cathedral, the Army Historical Properties Office, the Smithsonian
Institution, the Corcoran Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery in
London, the National Gallery of Northern Ireland, The National
Trust, and many private collectors.  She was considered an expert
especially in the problems encountered in the conservation and
restoration of Spanish Colonial paintings of the 17th and 18th
century.  She worked at the National Gallery in Washington in the
mid-1980s.  Her devoted collaborators and students include Lisa
Lester, Laura Rivers, Barbara Ventresco, and Mary Whitson.  On
February 20, 1941 Helmut Ruhemann wrote of Miss Bettina Arndt

   "Her work in both drawing and restoring was always particularly
    painstaking and accurate.  Miss Arndt possess all the
    fundamental qualities required for the profession of picture
    restoring: high intelligence, power of concentration, discretion
    and artistic talent."

Barbara Ventresco noted on October 28, 2003,

   "Working with Bettina Jessell was enormously instructive and a
    great pleasure. She had a gentle way of sharing her
    extraordinary knowledge and imparting instruction that made you
    feel like you knew what to do all along and that she was just
    there to guide you to do the obvious.  She had a tremendously
    infectious enthusiasm for restoration that made even the most
    boring project seem worth doing, although she might candidly
    acknowledge that it wasn't very interesting!"

WUDPAC student Laura Rivers noted, "She was a truly gifted teacher
and an extraordinary person who has had a lasting impact on the
lives of her many students.  I will miss her terribly," and from
Queen's graduate Morgan Boyd Zinsmeister, "I have yet to come across
a teacher as inspiring and as dedicated to her students.  She easily
combined the roles of grandmother, friend, and mentor."

    [Additional quotes from her students and colleagues are welcome
    for her IIC and AIC notices.]

                  Conservation DistList Instance 17:41
                 Distributed: Monday, November 3, 2003
                       Message Id: cdl-17-41-001
Received on Monday, 3 November, 2003

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Timestamp: Thursday, 26-Jan-2012 15:56:53 PST
Retrieved: Tuesday, 19-Nov-2019 13:24:53 GMT