Maintenance Work and the Long Life of Materials in Late-Medieval Art

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores an important aspect of artworks overlooked by art historians: their gradual material deterioration and the measures taken to slow this process of decay. It focusses on one extraordinarily detailed set of maintenance instructions set down by an early sixteenth-century English bishop. Drawing out some of the key themes from this maintenance programme (its ritual performance, its analogies with medicine, its philosophical stakes) and placing them in dialogue with surviving artworks, I argue that maintenance work offers an instructive new perspective from which to consider the material turn, as well as a deeper point of connection between art history and conservation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArt Bulletin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Dec 29 2022


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