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Dr Richard Mulholland

Senior Lecturer

Department: Arts

Richard Mulholland is a practicing paper conservator and technical art historian. His research is primarily concerned with material, technique, and studio process for artists from the late eighteenth to the twentieth century, particularly focusing on material and meaning in mid-twentieth century drawings and sculpture.

Richard is also engaged in research on the conservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage collections at risk in world conflict zones. He is a partner in HUNAR, a collaborative project involving the provision of conservation and collections management education for students and professionals in post-conflict Afghanistan. He has spent time working in the field in Kabul during a series of projects funded by the British Council Cultural Protection Fund. His research looks at the impact of capacity-building in conservation in the region post-2001. It investigates how alternative pedagogies for training cultural heritage conservation in Afghanistan might be effected for a wider cohort of students as the country moves towards recovery.

At Northumbria, Richard teaches on the Theory and Practice modules of the Conservation of Fine Art MA.

Richard studied Art History at the University of Leicester and Conservation of Fine Art at Northumbria. He completed his PhD in 2010 at the Royal College of Art, London, and carried out post-doctoral research at the Bodleian Library on the identification of eighteenth-century artists’ pigments using portable Raman spectroscopy, XRF and hyperspectral imaging in order to accurately reconstruct a lost colour chart by the Austrian painter Ferdinand Bauer (1760-1826). Before joining Northumbria in 2019, he spent eighteen years as a museum conservator, working for several museums, including the V&A, the Tate, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Harvard Art Museums.

  • Technical study of modern drawings, materrial and meaning in twentieth century artists'  practice
  • Non-destructive, in situ analysis of artists' materials
  • Conservation training and development in workld conflict zones
  • Tacit knowledge in visual arts practice

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • 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
  • 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
  • Painting by Numbers: Decoding Ferdinand Bauer’s Flora Graeca Colour Code, Mulholland, R. 17 Apr 2017
  • ‘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 Books
  • '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
  • 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

  • Conservation PhD June 01 2010
  • Conservation MA September 01 2000
  • History of Art BA (Hons) June 01 1996
  • Associate Fellow Higher Education Academy AFHEA 1

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