Meet our specialist conservators

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We have a number of specialist conservators who advise the project team and work on specialist items in the house. They include Fergus Purdy - Furniture Conservator, Cathy McClintock - Textile Conservator and Christine Powell Montague - Conservator Restorer.

Fergus Purdy - Furniture Conservator

Fergus trained at the London College of Furniture and has a diploma in furniture restoration.

He is a member of the Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works in Ireland and is currently serving as a board member. He's also a member of the Institute for Conservation (UK) and the Irish Professional Conservators and Restorers Association where he was chairperson from 1999 to 2001.

Fergus has 24 years experience of running his own conservation workshop, during which time he's been involved with the care of furniture and wooden object collections in museums, historic houses and churches throughout Ireland. This has involved not only conservation treatments of objects but also condition surveys, preventive conservation programmes and public engagement projects.

He has also been involved with the development and delivery of preventive conservation training for the National Trust, Northern Ireland Museums’ Council, The Heritage Council, ICHAWI and The Office of Public Works/Duchas. Fergus has given lectures on conservation for Museums, Ulster Historic Churches and MUBC at University College Dublin. He is also a member of the Regional Furniture Society and has written several articles on Irish furniture.

Cathy McClintock - Textile Conservator

Cathy trained at the Textile Conservation Centre in London, (now located in Glasgow) graduating with a diploma in conservation in 1986.

She set up her own business in 1987 and her first job was working on the library curtains in Castle Coole in the summer of that year. Twenty years on and she was again involved with the conservation/refurbishment of those same curtains!

Cathy has worked on numerous and varied items over the years, including bed heads, many flags, costume (frequently wedding dresses and christening robes) and accessories, domestic textiles, and one of her most memorable, a teddy bear.

These have come from museums, churches, historic houses, private clients throughout Ireland and of course, the National Trust. Lady Mairi asked Cathy to conserve and mount the garter banners for the chapel at Mount Stewart some years ago, and the interior upholstery of the chariot at Mount Stewart is a more recent project. The flags in the rotunda at the city hall in Belfast are another project undertaken by Cathy in the past.

Christine Powell Montague - Conservator Restorer

Christine specialises in the conservation and restoration of carved gilt-wood furniture and frames, cast composition decoration and associated finishes such a marbling and japanning. She also carries out preventive conservation framing improvements for paintings in existing frames and for mirror glass in mirror frames.

Examples of Christine’s work include a very large gilt wood decorative curtain pole for the library at Castle Coole, Fermanagh and 16 years at the V&A Museum in London, specializing in carved gilt-wood picture and mirror frames and furniture, working on a wide range of gilt-wood objects, predominantly English, Irish, Italian and French, ranging from the 12th to the 21st century.

She spent seven years at The National Gallery, London, conserving and restoring mainly Italian and French painted and gilt-wood frames and altarpieces. An example of which is The crucifixion about 1369-70 Jacopo di Cione which had suffered severe wood boring beetle damage.

Christine also spent two years carrying out conservation and restoration of gilt-wood frames and furniture including a pair of sofas by Jacob at The Wallace Collection, London,  and has also worked on furniture collection pieces for the Medieval Renaissance Galleries, The British Galleries, and Painting Collections frames, mainly 19th century with composition decoration.

She's the author of ‘Renaissance Frames at the V&A: A Technical Study’ published in 2009 by Butterworth & Heinemann with Zoe Allen and has also written articles for processional journals, presented conference papers, talks, workshops, gallery talks and demonstrations.