First Enamel Conservation Symposium Held in U.S.

Experts’ Meeting on Enamel on Metal Conservation
October 8 and 9, 2010

The art of enameling, which involves fusing colorful glass to a metal substrate, has been practiced over millennia. The earliest recognized examples are Mycenean and date to the thirteenth century BC. Beautiful objects in a wide variety of forms can be found in museums worldwide, including The Frick Collection, known for its important Renaissance painted enamels from the Limoges region of France. The study of this medium by artists active in the craft today thrives, as does scholarly attention on the part of academics, curators, scientists, and conservators.  In 2006 a group was created to focus on the conservation of and technical issues related to enamels. At that time, two specialist groups in glass and metal from the International Council of Museums — Conservation Committee (ICOM-CC) established the Enamel Group and hosted their first meeting in France. 

On October 8 and 9, 2010, The Frick Collection hosted the group’s third conference — the first to be held in the United States — and conservators, collectors, students, artists, and scholars attended.  During this important two-day event, a wide range of papers were delivered by a group of international specialists. 

List of Speakers (PDF version) | Program | Group Discussion

Meeting Outline

The 2010 meeting comprised a day and a half of lectures including a panel discussion and a half-day to visit enamel collections in New York. The event was coordinated by The Frick Collection’s Assistant Conservator,Julia Day, and the ICOM-CC Glass and Ceramics Working Group’s Assistant Coordinator, Agnès Gall Ortlik.

The lectures took place in the Music Room of the Frick and covered issues related to the preservation of enamels, new scientific research, and technical and art historical studies. The panel discussion featured experts who discussed the conservation and analysis of enamels. The results from this discussion were reviewed at the end of the meeting and has created a foundation for current methodology in these areas. A reception, coffee breaks, self-guided tour, and extended abstracts were included in the event.

The Enamel Group meeting occured between the two other East Coast meetings of related interest: the Glass and Ceramics Working Group of ICOM-CC, which is held its Interim Meeting from October 3 through 6, 2010, at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, and the Metals Working Group, from October 11 through 15, 2010, at the Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina.

List of Speakers
ICOM-CC