Disaster Response at the National Gallery: Emergency Grab Bag

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Introduction

Archival records show that most incidents of vandalism at the National Gallery have involved mechanical damage metered out with, or without, tools. Since 1863, these occasions have involved 15 works of art and have included the use of knives, a hammer, a meat cleaver, razor, fist, and gun. Since 1863, there have been 3 incidents involving the imparting of a non-corrosive substance on 4 works (2 acrylic paint-based events and 1 make-up impression) and no instances involving corrosive agents. In total, 18 works have been damaged in 19 incidents with one work undergoing more than one attack. A review of our current disaster/vandalism kit and response procedure was prompted by the malicious damage sustained by NG6277 and NG5597 in 2011.

Contributors

Morwenna Blewett, Assistant Restorer, morwenna.blewett@ng-london.org.uk (contact author)

David Peggie, Organic Analyst

Lynne Harrison, Assistant Restorer

Joseph Padfield, Senior Scientific Officer