Adam Macklin has been volunteering at the Chester Beatty Library since November 2015. He read Chinese history and Mandarin at SOAS for his Masters, and has lived in Beijing. Adam therefore has a keen interest in East Asia and previously volunteered at the Library as a tour guide in 2007 when he gained a massive interest in the broad range of Chester Beatty’s collections.
Adam hopes to become a conservator and is currently helping the conservation team with the boxing of the Arabic Collection, to protect the manuscripts whilst in storage.
Karen Horton is an Independent Textile and Ethnographic Conservator; she first worked at the Chester Beatty Library in 2007 and has been the Library’s contract textile conservator since 2012. Karen trained as an Archaeological Conservator at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and chose to specialise in Textiles obtaining an MA in Textile Conservation from the Textile Conservation Centre, England. Her work at the Library has covered a diverse range of textile objects from the collection including Chinese Imperial Dragon Robes, Indian velvets and embroidered 18th century book bindings. Karen works internationally for both museums and private clients.
Karen‘s passion and interest are in all aspects of the material cultures of Asia, she has travelled extensively throughout India, the Himalayas, and China. She is currently conserving a group of Ming Dynasty textiles in Xi’an China where she works and trains interns each year in textile conservation. Karen is studying for her Ph.D. and her research topic is on Buddhist and Himalayan Art and the Art Market. Karen is also a member of both ICON and ICRI.
Gaia Petrella Paper Conservator (2009- 2011) graduated from the University of Florence having specialised in the History of manuscript Miniatures. Gaia then worked as a book and paper Conservator at Open Care in Milan before working as a tutor and lecturer in “Books, Documents and Paper Conservation” at the Centre of Cataloguing and Conservation of National Heritage at Villa Manin, Passariano in Udine between 2007 and 2009.
Gaia’s work at the CBL focused on the conservation of the Library’s collection of Persian single folios, in particular the pigment consolidation of more than 100 Shahnama illustrations. Gaia also helped to install and de-install 5 major exhibitions in the Library’s permanent and temporary galleries.
After leaving the Chester Beatty Library Gaia worked as a Book conservator at the Vatican Library in Rome, Italy on a conservation and preservation project of 48 manuscripts from Persia, Turkey and the Arabic world supported by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation from Azerbaijan; In 2013 she taught Islamic books and paper Preservation and Conservation at the Advanced Training course on Library Materials Conservation at the Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage and Antiquities in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. Since 2014, Gaia has been working in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman where she is working on a collection of Arabic manuscripts and printed books.
Peggy Rème Paintings Conservator (2013) graduated in 2008 and had worked in the South West of France in a private studio for six months before getting in a one-year Internship at the National Gallery of Ireland where she worked as a contract conservator.
Peggy’s contract at the Chester Beatty Library was based on a team project including preventive conservation measures of East Asian objects in storage as well as the survey of the Tibetan, Korean, Mongolian, and Balinese collections. She was also was part of the team in charge of the mounting and framing the temporary exhibition Costumes Parisiens, fashion plates from 1912-1914 .
After this experience, Peggy continued working as a freelance conservator for the National Gallery of Ireland and also the National Library of Ireland. She then worked for an independent paintings conservator in Dublin. She’s now back in the South of France where she has opened her own studio.
“I feel grateful I was welcomed by the Chester Beatty Library team to have a glimpse of the everyday work and treatments conservators carry out on precious and varied artefacts of the collection. Techniques and materials can differ from what I am used to in painting conservation so it was a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge”
Eileen Walsh Paper Conservator (2012 to 2014) graduated with an honours degree in English Literature and History of Art. She worked in the National Archives of Ireland as a Preservation Assistant between 2007 and 2008 and also did some work for The Paper Conservation Studio during this time. In 2008 – 2009 Eileen undertook an MA Conservation Course at University of the Arts London, Camberwell before undertaking a conservation internship in the National Archives of Ireland.
Eileen worked one day a week in the Chester Beatty Library on various projects. These included a private collection of Chinese ephemera, 100 French Revolutionary prints from the eighteenth century, and a number of large Chinese ink drawings. Eileen also assisted with the deinstall of an exhibition of nineteenth century Chinese photographs by John Thomson and consolidated a seventeenth century French illuminated miniature.
Eileen is currently working on a project in the National Archives of Ireland where she is conserving a collection of Education Records from the nineteenth century.
“I found working in the Chester Beatty Library a wonderful experience. The collection is so interesting and exciting. It was a real pleasure to get to see the conservation work that was being carried out and to be part of it. The team was great to work with and was always inclusive of everyone who came into the studio.”
Colleen Fitzgerald volunteered at the Library between 2003 and 2010. During this time she was responsible for a primary survey of the physical condition of the Arabic manuscript collection, and worked closely with Conservation.
Colleen holds a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Arizona and was awarded Chartership status (MCLiP) from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals. She has 20 years broad experience working in library settings including IBM, the National Council for the Blind Ireland, and Dublin Institute of Technology. She currently lives in the UK where she is School Library Manager for Cedars Upper School in Linslade, Bedfordshire.