Photo of Sharon Cather

Sharon Cather

Professor

  • Strand, Somerset House

    WC2R 0RN London

    United Kingdom

  • 229 Citations
  • 6 h-Index
1981 …2016

Personal profile

Overview

Sharon Cather was educated at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and at Princeton University, where she worked particularly on the drawings of Gianlorenzo Bernini. After teaching in the History of Art Department at the University of Cambridge, she helped establish the Conservation of Wall Painting Department at The Courtauld in 1985.

Responsible for the Department’s research agenda, Sharon has supervised fifty eight MA dissertations, resulting in thirty two publications, as well as other research at PhD level. She is also the main supervisor of the Department’s conservation, research and teaching projects in China, Georgia, India and Malta, and Project Director of the Leon Levy Foundation Centre for Conservation Studies at Nagaur (Rajasthan). She has played a central role in the implementation of the MA-level teaching in conservation undertaken at Dunhuang (China) in collaboration with the Dunhuang Academy and Getty Conservation Institute, and in 2014 was awarded The People’s Republic of China Friendship Award (China’s highest award for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China’s economic and social progress).

Sharon serves on the editorial board of Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung, and on other bodies including the Paintings Committee of the Church Buildings Council and the International Scientific Committee for the Conservation of the Marble Floor of St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, the International Institute for Conservation, of which she was Vice-President from 2010 to 2014, and the American Academy in Rome.

Research interests

  • Conservation theory, in particular methodological developments
  • Environmental causes of deterioration, their diagnosis and mitigation
  • Analytical methods, with emphasis on portable and accessible techniques
  • Technology of wall paintings globally
  • Methods and materials of remedial interventions

Awards

2014

  • The People's Republic of China Friendship Award. ‘The Friendship Award, set up in 1991, is China's
    highest award for foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China's economic and social progress’ [State Administration of Foreign Affairs].

2011

  • Dunhuang Award from Gansu Provincial People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China, for
    ‘outstanding service and remarkable contribution to the Economic, Scientific, Academic Development and Educational Program in Gansu Province’.

2000

  • Guest Scholar, Getty Conservation Institute.

Teaching

  • MA in the Conservation of Wall Painting
  • MA in Buddhist Art: History and Conservation

Fellowships

1995 
  • Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation
1994
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries
1981
  • Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (Prix de Rome), in residence 1981-82

PhD Students

Current

  • Sreekumar Menon, ‘Early Period Buddhist Wall Paintings of Ladakh from the 11th to the early 13th Century: Materials, Techniques and Conservation Implications’ supervised with David Park
  • Na Li, ‘A Scientific Approach to Interpreting the Damage and Ongoing Mechanisms of Deterioration Caused by Fire to the Wall Paintings of the Mogao Grottoes, Dunhuang, China’
  • Chiara Pasian, ‘Non-Structural Lime-Based Injection Grouts with Reduced Water Content for Decorated Surfaces’, supervised with Francesca Piqué
  • Amarilli Rava, ‘Re-adhesion Interventions on Wall Paintings: Bonding Mechanisms and Assessment Methods’
  • Sibylla Tringham, ‘The Distribution of Consolidants in Painted Plaster’

Recently completed

  • Charlotte Martin de Fonjaudran, ‘Cleaning Asian Wall Paintings: Constraints and Development of an Open-Source Image Analysis Workflow for in-situ Evaluation of Topographical Surface Changes’ (2014)
  • Austin Nevin, ‘Fluorescence and Raman Spectroscopy for Analysis of Protein-Based Paint Media’ (2008)
  • Robyn Pender, ‘The Behaviour of Moisture in the Porous Support Materials of Wall Paintings: An Investigation of Some Environmental Factors’ (2000)

Conservation Project Management

  • Ateni Sioni, Georgia: Conservation of the Romanesque wall paintings, joint programme with the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia and the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Project Director, 2016-ongoing
  • Nagaur, India: Leon Levy Centre for Conservation Studies at Nagaur, Project Director, 2013-ongoing
  • Vardzia, Georgia: Conservation of the wall paintings of the Church of the Dormition, Vardzia, Georgia, joint programme with the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia and the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Project Director, 2011-15
  • Tamzhing, Bhutan: Conservation of the wall paintings of Tamzhing Monastery, Bumthang, Bhutan, joint programme with the Department of Culture of the Ministry of Home andCultural Affairs of Bhutan, 2012-ongoing
  • Petra, Jordan: Conservation of the Biclinium, Siq al Barid, Beidha, Petra, Jordan, jointprogramme with the Petra National Trust, Petra Archaeological Park, and Department of Antiquities of Jordan, 2006-10
  • Kalopaniotis, Cyprus: Conservation of the mural paintings of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis, Cyprus, joint programme with the Department of Antiquities and the Bishopric of Morphou, 2006-12
  • Nagaur, India:Conservation of the wall paintings of the Fort and Palace complex, Nagaur, Rajasthan, India, a joint programme with the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, supported since 2012 by the Leon Levy Foundation, 2005-ongoing
  • Dunhuang, China: Conservation research in Cave 260 (N. Wei) at Mogao, Dunhuang, joint programme with the Dunhuang Academy and the Getty Conservation Institute,Project Director, 2005-10
  • Conservation of the Grand Masters’ Crypt,Co-Cathedral of StJohn, Valletta, Malta, a joint programme with St John’s Cathedral Foundation, 2004-09
  • Conservation of the C18 oil-based wall paintings of Our Lady of Victory, Valletta, Malta, joint programme with the Valletta Rehabilitation Project, 2004-ongoing
  • Conservation of the Entrance Vault Paintings, Magisterial Palace, Valletta, joint programme with the Valletta Rehabilitation Project, Project Director, 2003-04
  • Conservation of the post-Byzantine wall paintings of Agios Sozomenus, Galata, Cyprus, joint programme with the Department of Antiquities and the Bishopric of Morphou, Project Director, 2000–03
  • Cleeve Abbey, Chapter House and Dormitory: wall painting conservation research and developent fieldwork programme, for English Heritage, Project Director, 1999
  • Grandmaster’s Chapel, Magisterial Palace, Valletta: Conservation of the Paladini frescoes, joint programme with the Valletta Rehabilitation Project and the Getty Conservation Institute, 1998–ongoing
  • Conservation of the post-Byzantine wall paintings of Askas Church, Cyprus, joint programme with the Department of Antiquities, Project Director, 1996–00
  • Diagnostic investigation and conservation of the 17th-century wall paintings of San Miguel de Balansat, Ibiza, joint programme with the Getty Conservation Institute and Ibiza Ministry of Culture, 1995-97
  • Conservation of Lord Leighton’s War and Peace, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1995-96
  • Diagnostic monitoring, scientific examination and conservation of the Romanesque and Gothic wall paintings of the Holy Sepulchre Chapel, Winchester Cathedral, 1992-97
  • Conservation of the post-Byzantine wall paintings of Monagri, Cyprus, collaborative programme with the Department of Antiquities, 1992-94
  • Diagnostic monitoring and scientific examination of the 12th-century wall paintings of St Gabriel’s Chapel, Canterbury Cathedral, collaborative programme with the Institute fürDenkmalpflege, Hanover, 1988-92

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

Water content Engineering & Materials Science
Porosity Engineering & Materials Science
Water Engineering & Materials Science
Paintings Medicine & Life Sciences
Technology Medicine & Life Sciences
Reducing agents Engineering & Materials Science
Water absorption Engineering & Materials Science
Water vapor Engineering & Materials Science

Research Output 1981 2016

'Performance of grouts with reduced water content: the importance of porosity and related properties'

Pasian, C., Secco, M., Piqué , F., Rickerby , S., Artioli, G. & Cather, S. Oct 10 2016 Plastering the Prehistory: Marl as a unique material to cover, maintain and decorate the Neolithic walls of Catalhöyük. I., P., M., S. & V., P. (eds.). Laboratory of Building Materials Department of Civil Engineering Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Research output: ResearchConference contribution

Water content
Porosity
Water
Reducing agents
Water absorption

‘Conservation research at Dunhuang: the pivotal role of Cave 260 for conservation education and policy'

Cather, S., Xudong, W., Bomin, S., Rickerby , S., Shekede, L. & Wang, X. 2014 In : Studies in Conservation. 59, S1, p. 17-20

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

‘Vast and dispersed: developing portable facilities for non-invasive analysis and recording of heritage sites in China’

Bomin, S., Zongren, Y. & Cather, S. 2014 In : Studies in Conservation. 59, S1, p. 141-44

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Art of Merit: Studies in Buddhist Art and its Conservation

Cather, S. (ed.), Park, D. (ed.) & Wangmo, K. (ed.) 2013 London: Archetype.

Research output: ResearchBook

'Passive and remedial approaches to salt damage and biodeterioration of wall paintings and monuments in the Crypt of the Grand Masters, St John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta'

Tringham, S., Martin de Fonjaudran, C., de Giorgio, C. & Cather, S. 2013 Wandmalereien in Krypten, Grotten, Katakomben. Zur Konservierung gefasster Oberflächen in umweltgeschädigten Räumen. (Wall paintings in crypts, grottoes and catacombs. Strategies for the conservation of coated surfaces in damp environments) . Danzl, T., Exner, M. & Rüber-Schütte, E. (eds.). Halle: German National Committee of ICOMOS, p. 85-96

Research output: ResearchConference contribution