Speaker: Sarah Cove
6 July 2021

The title of the lecture relates to the 2011 catalogue to The Suffolk Collection at Kenwood House in Hampstead which houses the best-known group of portraits by Jacobean court painter William Larkin (active 1609-19) alongside notable examples of English portraits from the 16th-19th centuries. The catalogue will include my essay on the materials and techniques of portraits by Larkin, including the full-length portraits known as The Berkshire Marriage Set, based on original research for my unpublished Dissertation (Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 1985) and form experience gained in the conservation of Larkin’s portraits. His painting methods originate in medieval manuscript illumination, miniature painting and Northern European painting traditions. The studio system of training young painters, Larkin’s meticulous paint handling, changes in materials over time, such as fading, and conservation issues related to cleaning and restoration, which can take hundreds of hours, are discussed. My unique images are taken from original research and conservation treatments.

Sarah Cove is an accredited paintings conservator-restorer, technical art historian and lecturer with more than 35 years’ experience working on paintings for the heritage and private sectors. She is based in London and Falmouth and is a specialist in British portraits, 19th- 20th century British landscapes and oil sketches on paper and board. In 1986 she founded the Constable Research Project and she is now the leading authority on Constable’s materials and techniques. She has appeared in several TV programmes for the BBC notably Constable in Love with Andrew Graham-Dixon and twice on Fake or Fortune? where she was instrumental in the discovery of 3 ‘lost’ Constables. Other research interests include Tudor and Jacobean Portraiture, the 19th century Newlyn and St Ives schools and early-to-mid 20th century British painting generally. She has been a lecturer for The Arts Society since 2003 and is an experienced international speaker having lectured independently at major public and gallery venues across the UK, USA, Australia and NZ. Her presentations are lively and enthusiastic as she speaks without notes with an inimitable passion that comes from presenting her own work and research with wonderful images.