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Paintings Conservator

  • Organisation:National Galleries Scotland
  • Location:Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Salary:£29,816 - £32,645 per annum
  • Contract type:Fixed Term Contract / Full Time

We have an exciting opportunity for a specialist Paintings Conservator to join us to deliver paintings conservation across our collection. It is based within the Collections Care Directorate, reporting to one of the Senior Paintings Conservators. It sits alongside and compliments the other conservation specialisms of paper, frames, and time-based media. 


Paintings conservation and research (80%)

  • Assisting with the planning and programming of paintings conservation work required to deliver the loans, displays, exhibitions, acquisitions, and collections care activities.
  • Recording work undertaken and liaising with colleagues to highlight any anticipated issues with the delivery of the work programme and advise if additional requests can be accommodated.
  • Undertaking conservation work required for exhibitions and displays of paintings, within NGS and at non-NGS sites, including advising on the suitability of works of art for transport and display, condition checking, conservation treatments and application of preventive conservation measures.
  • Undertaking paintings conservation work required to improve standards of collections care, such as condition surveys of parts of the collection and remedial treatments.
  • Documentation – requesting photography, communicating findings, and providing data for entry onto the NGS collections management database (Multi Mimsy) and NGS website.
  • Responding to any incident reports which relate to paintings.
  • Liaising with Conservation Technicians and Art Handling Technicians to ensure works are safely packed and installed, which may involve designing specialist storage and display cases.
  • Undertaking art historical research relating to parts of the NGS paintings collection, and conservation research relating to modes of deterioration, conservation materials and techniques.

Common Areas of Responsibility (20%)

These areas of responsibility are common across all the conservator roles, although some of the specifics will vary depending on the conservator’s specialism.

  • Commissioning and supervising work by freelance conservators and specialists.
  • Undertaking courier duties of relevance to the conservation specialism.
  • Devising work programmes for and supervising interns, placement students and volunteers.
  • Providing specialist advice and training for colleagues and answering external enquiries.
  • Working with budget holders to create, review, manage and maintain budget for areas of responsibility.
  • Maintaining conservation and analytical equipment, advising on purchases of new equipment, monitoring levels of conservation materials and requesting additional stock as appropriate.
  • Promoting the activity of the specialist role and of the Conservation Department as a whole, both internally and externally, by giving talks, tours, and presentations and writing content for traditional publications and social media.
  • Developing and participating in relevant external networks and collaborations, both nationally and internationally.
  • Maintaining and developing skills and knowledge in conservation and the cultural heritage sector.


The following range of knowledge skills and experience are required.  Please ensure these are reflected in your application. Short listing for interview will be based on meeting these requirements.

Knowledge and Experience

  • At least two years of work experience (post education/training).
  • Practical experience of working with a broad range of art collections within the specialism of paintings.
  • Good knowledge and understanding of the materiality of paintings and experience of working with a range of media
  • The ability to devise and carry out treatments to a high standard, where necessary using innovative solutions to resolve complex and unique problems.
  • Experience of preventive painting conservation approaches such as environmental monitoring and control; storage, transportation, installation, and display methods.
  • Good knowledge of the conservation sector in the UK.
  • Knowledge of the history of art and ability to undertake conservation and art historical research for paintings collections.
  • Knowledge of relevant Health and Safety regulations and approaches.

Skills and Abilities

  • Educated to degree level with a recognised post-graduate qualification in a relevant conservation discipline or equivalent training/experience.
  • Professional accreditation through the PACR scheme, or a willingness to work towards this.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills. Ability to produce clear and accurate documentation.
  • Time-management and planning skills. Works well under pressure, prioritising workload to meet deadlines.
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a team, sometimes in a leading role, with a proactive approach to sharing information with colleagues.
  • Willingness to continually develop technical skills with regards to new methods and techniques, actively engaging in CPD.
  • Good IT skills, including MS Office and image processing software


  • Experience of working in a museum or gallery.
  • Experience of supervising interns and volunteers.
  • Experience of using a collections management database.
  • Experience of writing for traditional publications and social media.
  • Driving licence.


 The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) is home to one the world’s finest collections off art, which ranges from the Middle Ages to the present day.  Our spectacular buildings house the world’s greatest collection of Scottish art, and a world-renowned collection of Scottish and international photography, welcoming many visitors to our three principal sites in Edinburgh: the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery. The National Galleries of Scotland aims to preserve, display and augment the collections for the enjoyment and education of the widest possible public and to maintain NGS as a centre of excellence.

This is an exciting period of renewal for NGS, as we move forward with our engaging strategic vision that puts our audience at the heart of what we do. We’re making it our mission to broaden our impact, matching our rich collections, expertise and creativity to the needs and wants of our visitors. We’re finding new ways to connect with more people, and creating an innovative, inclusive organisation that can meet the challenges of our ever-evolving world.

‘Art for Scotland: Inspiration for the world’ is Our Vision.  Inclusive, original and ambitious – we will make the national collection accessible to all and inspire curiosity across the world.

At NGS we are committed to looking at how we operate as well as how we engage with our visitors and communities. We want to play our part in tackling the Climate Emergency. We will ensure Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is embedded across our organisation, ensuring everyone feels a sense of belonging and can be themselves.


HOURS: 42 hours per week inclusive of meal breaks
PAY: £29,816 – £32,645 per annum (Band 5). Starting salaries will normally be at the minimum or at a rate that reflects qualifications and/or experience which are of special value for the post, and which are above minimum entry requirements
ANNUAL LEAVE: 25 days per annum pro-rata and 11.5 public and privilege holidays per annum pro-rata
PENSION: Civil Service pension provisions enables the National Galleries of Scotland to offer a choice of pensions, giving you the flexibility to choose the pension that suits you best.

The closing date for completed applications is Sunday, 26 June 2022

Candidates must be available to attend interviews on Tuesday, 12 July 2022.

Please note that the successful candidate will be subject to Basic Disclosure Scotland security clearance.

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