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Dr Richard Mulholland

Assistant Professor

Department: Arts

I am a practicing paper conservator and technical art historian. 

After studying Art History at the University of Leicester and Conservation of Fine Art at Northumbria. I completed my PhD at the Royal College of Art, London and carried out post-doctoral research at the the Bodleian Library at Oxford on the pigments used by the eighteenth century natural history painter, Ferdinand Bauer. Before joining Northumbria, I spent nineteen years as an art conservator working at the V&A, the Tate, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Harvard Art Museums.


Richard Mulholland

My  research is primarily concerned with material, technique, and studio process used by artists from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century, particularly focusing on material, meaning and visual perception in twentieth century artists' drawings.

My forthcoming book, 'David Smith: The Artist's Materials' will be published by Getty Publications in 2024.

I am also engaged in research on the conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage collections at risk in world conflict zones, focusing particularly on post-conflict Afghanistan. I  have spent time working in the field in Kabul during a series of research and capacity-building projects funded by the British Council's Cultural Protection Fund. My research looks at the impact of capacity-building and educational programmes in cultural heritage conservation in the region post-2001, and is focused on how alternative pedagogies for teaching and learning in cultural heritage conservation in Afghanistan might be used to develop skills and knowledge in the region, paticularly after the withdrawl of international forces in 2021.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Culture, Education and Conflict: The Relevance of Critical Conservation Pedagogies for Post-Conflict Afghanistan, Mulholland, R. 3 Apr 2023, In: Studies in Conservation
  • Analysis of Watercolour Pigments Found in Thaddeus Haenke's Eighteenth Century Colour Chart and Attributed to Ferdinand Bauer, Mulholland, R. 24 Oct 2018, Ciencia y Arte VII
  • The Mechanism and Materials of Painting Colour ‘Ad Vivum’ in the Eighteenth Century, Mulholland, R. 27 Jun 2019, Ad vivum?: Visual Materials and the Vocabulary of Life-Likeness in Europe before 1800, Brill Academic Publishers
  • Identifying eighteenth century pigments at the Bodleian library using in situ Raman spectroscopy, XRF and hyperspectral imaging, Mulholland, R., Howell, D., Beeby, A., Domoney, K., Nicholson, K. Dec 2017, In: Heritage Science
  • ‘And I know damned-well what he wanted!’ Deliberate Alteration and Interpretations of Intent in Several Late Sculptures by David Smith, Mulholland, R. 1 Feb 2014, The Real Thing?, London, Archetype Publications
  • Painting by Numbers: Decoding Ferdinand Bauer’s Flora Graeca Colour Code, Mulholland, R. 17 Apr 2017
  • Art, Conservation and Conflict: War-damaged paintings at the National Gallery of Afghanistan, Mulholland, R. 27 Nov 2019, Art of the Lost: Discussing the Future of the Past
  • 'Multiplicar las asociaciones': David Smith y Pinturas Modernas, Mulholland, R. 1 Feb 2011, IIC-GEC 12a Jornada de Conservación de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte, Spain

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Invited talk: Cultural Heritage Destruction and Conservation Training in Afghanistan 2023
  • Invited talk: ‘Even on a Mountain, there is still a road’: Reflections on Conservation in post-Conflict Afghanistan 2023
  • Invited talk: Investigating colour in eighteenth-century botanical drawing: decoding Ferdinand Bauer and Thaddeus Haenke 2023

Charlotte Johnston Legacy of Dammar Resin: Colonialist Harvesting and its Impact on the International Artist Material Trade and Import of Natural Resinous Materials to Britain, 1820 - 1850. Start Date: 01/10/2023

I am part of the team that manages and preserves the Montagu Collection of World Musical Instruments at Northumbria. I am a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works and am Coordinator for the Photographic Materials Group of the International Council of Museums Conservation Committee (ICOM-CC)

  • PhD June 01 2010
  • Conservation MA September 01 2000
  • History of Art BA (Hons) June 01 1996
  • Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works FIIC 2023
  • Fellow Higher Education Academy FHEA 2022
  • Associate Fellow Higher Education Academy AFHEA 1

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