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Dr Jane Florence Colbourne

Programme Leader, MA Conservation of Fine Art

Department: Arts

Jane Colbourne is Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader for Conservation of Fine Art.

Jane Colbourne , Senior Lecturer In Conservation , Northumbria UniversityJane Colbourne graduated from the Gateshead Programme (now Northumbria University) in the Conservation of Works of Art on Paper in 1987. She worked for several years for the Durban and Johannesburg Art Gallery’s in South Africa as a Paper Conservator before joining the Tate Gallery in London.

In 1994 she joined Northumbria University as Senior lecturer in the Conservation of Fine Art, specialising in works of art on paper teaching across both first and second year cohorts. In 2011 she received her PhD on the materials and techniques of an early 20th century artist Charles Henry Sims RA (1873-1928) a leading Edwardian painter who represented a neglected body of British artists who were responding to and assimilating certain new tendencies within early modernism.

Other qualifications include Foundation Studies in Art and Design (Leicester Polytechnic, 1980) BA (Hons.) in Fine Art (Belfast College of Art, 1983) and a PG-CUTL in University Teaching and Learning (1996), a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2009) and an Accredited Member of The Institute of Conservation (ICON) since June 2001. She has also served as a HEFC Moderator and for three years on ICON’s Professional Accreditation Committee.

In addition to teaching, research and her current position as Programme Leader she regularly delivers professional workshops both home and abroad on various topics related to conservation and the history of artist materials. She is also currently a key collaborator of the Northumbria Paper Studio (PSN) developed to further research into the scholarship of paper in relation to fine art, conservation, archiving and the practice of papermaking and drawing. This is a unique facility both nationally and international in the context, expertise and focus that it provides.

Campus Address

Northumbria University
001 Burt Hall, Northumberland Road
Newcastle upon Tyne

0191 2437465


  • PhD (Technical Art History)
  • Teaching Fellow: The Higher Education Academy
  • Post Graduate Certificate in University Teaching and Learning, (PGCULT)
  • Post Graduate Higher Diploma in Conservation of Fine Art: Specialism Works of Art on Paper
  • BA (Hons.) Fine Art Practice
  • Foundation Studies in Art and Design

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Jane Colbourne’s research interests are located within the field of Paper Conservation, Contemporary Fine Art practice and Technical Art History which focuses largely on the materials and techniques of British artists during the first quarter of the twentieth century. She also has a long standing interest in European and Oriental papermaking, drawing, printmaking and the use and dissemination of archive collections. 

Current Teaching Activity

  • MA Conservation of Fine Art, Years 1 & 2 Specialism Works of Art on Paper

Professional Activity

ICON Working group member: The  National Conservation  Education and Stakeholders Committee ( NCESS) 

Consultancies are wide ranging and include the National Trust, Alnwick Castle, Chatsworth House and Lissadel Castle  

Key Publications

Publications and conference papers

  • Colbourne, Jane & Hori, Manami, (2015) Modern Machine–made Washi and the Implications to Contemporary Conservation Practice. In: Adapt & Evolve Conference Proceedings, 8-10 April 2015. SOAS, University of London, online ICON publication.
  • Colbourne, Jane (2013) Shedding Light on Edwardian Practice: Archives and Archive Practices Symposium, 29 May 2013. Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Colbourne, Jane. The complexity and ageing characteristics of Zinc oxide, The National Gallery of Norway in conjunction with the National Library of Norway. 8 June 2010, National Library of Norway, Oslo Norway. 
  • Colbourne, Jane and Snyder Fishman Reba eds. (2009) Printed on Paper: The Techniques, History and Conservation of Printed Media, in conjunction with American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). School of Arts and Social Sciences Academic Press, Newcastle upon Tyne. 
  •  Colbourne, Jane and Singer, Brian (2009) ‘The Removal of Natural Resin Varnishes from Hand –Coloured Oil Printed Media.’ In: Research in Book and Paper Conservation in Europe: A State of the Art, Edited by Patricia Engel, Verlag Berger Horn/ Wein, Germany. 
  • Colbourne, Jane (2009) Artists’ White Pigments in Aqueous Medium, Tintas and Pigmentos, Archivo Real y Gebnerla de Navarra,23-24 November 2006, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain. 
  • Colbourne, Jane (2007) The Use of Artist White Pigments in Early 20th century Works of Art on Paper. ICON Scottish Meeting, 14 November 2007, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. 
  • Keynote Speaker: The launch of the Conservation and Promotion of the Arts Foundation, 21 April 2007, Bikaner Museum, Rajasthan, India. 
  • Colbourne, Jane (2006) Pigment, Adulterant or Additive: A Discussion on Artists White Watercolour Pigments in the early 20th Century. In: The Fifth International Conference Proceedings of the Institute of Paper Conservation, Edinburgh, July 2006, ICON, Routledge, London. 
  • Colbourne, Jane (2001) A Survey of Methods Used in the Technical Examination and Analysis of Brown Inks. In: The Iron Gall Ink Meeting, 4th & 5th September 2000. The University of Northumbria, ed. A.J.E Brown, School of Humanities, The University of Northumbria Press, Newcastle upon Tyne. 
  • Cumming, Lisa and Colbourne, Jane (2000) The Conservation of Mrs Marton, an 18th Century Pastel and Gouache Portrait by Daniel Gardner. In: The Paper Conservator, Vol. 22: Journal of the Institute of Paper Conservation, ed. Nancy Bell published by IPC, London.

Conference organisation and CPD workshop delivery

  • 33rd Gerry Hedley Student Symposium , Northumbria University in collaboration with the Hamilton Kerr Institute Cambridge University and the Courtauld Institute of Arts, 8 & 9 June 2015, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Printed on Paper, The Techniques, History and Conservation. Northumbria University in conjunction with the American Institute for Conservation (AIC), 5-7 September 2007, The Sage Gateshead.

CPD workshop delivery

  • A Master-Class on Fixatives and Consolidants. The National Gallery of Norway in conjunction with the National Library of Norway. 5-10 June 2010, National Library of Norway, Oslo Norway. 
  • Pressure Sensitive Tape Removal, Washing and Alkalisation , 14 -29 July 2006, National Heritage Centre, Singapore,
  • Pulp Repair Techniques and the Colouring of Pulp with Organic and Synthetic Organic Dyes : 1-8 September 2006, The British Library, London,
  • Synthetic and Organic Dyes to Colour Paper Pulp , 10 -15 June 2005, National Gallery of Norway, Oslo, Norway.
  • Consolidants and Cationic and Anionic Dye Fixatives , 17-22 August 2004, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • East to West: Japanese Paper Conservation Techniques , in conjunction with the Sorbonne, Paris and Kyoto University, 1-14 July 2004, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • Pulp Repair Techniques and the Colouring of Pulp with Organic and Synthetic Organic Dyes , National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh, 6-11 May 2003. 
  •  Pressure Sensitive Tape Removal, in conjunction with The Institute of Paper Conservation, UK, 10-15 June 2002, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. 
  • A New Way of Looking at Pulp Repairing and Colouring , 28-31 June 2002, Cornell University, USA. 
  • Tape Removal Techniques, in conjunction with Institute of Paper Conservation, 29 June-2 July 2001, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Current/Recent Projects

Current research is focused on the implications machine–made Japanese washi has on the conservation of fragile artefacts and considers the potential risks and benefits resulting from current innovations .The study aims to compare and contrast its chemical and physical behaviour across a broad range of issues from its fibre content, inclusion of sizing and formation aids and its hygroexpansivity and shrinkage behaviour when exposed to moisture.   

Sponsors and Collaborators


  • Tyne and Wear Museums
  • Tate Britain, London
  • National Trust

Programme Sponsors:

  • Woon Brothers Foundation, Singapore

Postgraduate Supervision

  • Caroline Ali: Reconstructing the copy: Synergies between fine art practices of drawing from drawings, and retouching drawings in paper conservation, with particular consideration of drawings in the archive of Charles Sims R.A. (1873-1928). Estimated submission 2018: Principle supervisor.
  • Vanessa Johnson: Degradation –induced fluorescent patterns of zinc white in watercolour paintings: Estimated submission 2017: Third  supervisor
  • Agnieszka Kozlowska: Taking Photographs Beyond the Visual: Paper as a Material Signifier in Photographic Indexicality: Completed 2014:  Third  Supervisor
  • Hyejung Yum: Traditional Korean papermaking: History, techniques and materials. Completed 2008. Third  Supervisor

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