Stephen Rickerby ACR
Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede began their conservation practice in 1998. We both have post-graduate qualifications in wall painting conservation, and have an established and extensive portfolio of UK and international work. With a background in research and development, and experience of a wide variety of wall painting technologies and periods, we are committed to practical conservation treatment based on multi-disciplinary diagnosis. We retain a hands-on role for the duration of all our projects, so that we can personally respond to problems by adapting and refining approaches accordingly. We also undertake art-historical and historical research, condition and technical investigations, diagnosis of deterioration problems, environmental monitoring and assessment, and analysis of original plaster and paint materials. A specialism is the analysis and treatment of wall paintings on earthen supports.
Based in Herefordshire, we operate throughout the UK. Clients include individuals, churches, cathedrals, and historic houses. The National Trust, English Heritage, the Churches Building Council, and the Courtauld Institute are among the organizations and institutions for which we have worked. Internationally, we have completed major projects in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as well as undertaking country-wide and regional wall painting surveys. Commissioning bodies include governmental agencies and NGOs, and organisations such as the Getty Conservation Institute, the World Monuments Fund, and the Ethiopian Heritage Fund.
We take an active role in conservation teaching and lecturing, both in the UK and internationally, and publish regularly.
Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede have recently completed their conservation treatment of the 20th-century decorative scheme at St Michael and All Angels, Berwick, by the artists Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and Quentin Bell. The paintings date from 1941 and were painted onto plasterboard. We have been delighted with every aspect of their work. They brought an extraordinary range of experience and understanding to the project and were happy to take time to share this. They took great care in their initial assessment of the paintings and their environment. They are equipped with the technology needed to do this analysis properly. The condition report was outstandingly clear and well-presented. In our project we were obliged to have another conservator of national repute serving as a consultant. He described this report as 'excellent'. They helped us understand the paintings better, both technically but also in their relationship to the building, the environment and, as importantly, their changing relationship with people. They developed good relations with workers on site, visitors and church members. They were happy to discuss and talk about their work and methodology. The paintings are, I understand, particularly challenging as they vary in method and materials used. Stephen and Lisa were able to analyse, understand these variations and adapted their treatment methods in response. They helpfully made careful photographic records of their work. As well as appreciating the quality of their work we have also enjoyed their presence and we look forward to their return to give talks next year. Above all everyone has been absolutely delighted with the results of their work. They have realised afresh the original intentions of the artists and restored the dignity of their work. We would not hesitate to recommend them and we feel fortunate that they were available to undertake the work at Berwick.
Revd. Peter Blee, Rector, Church of St Michael and All Angels, BerwickConservation and Cleaning of the Bloomsbury Group Wall Paintings
From the very first contact Stephen Rickerby and Lisa Shekede offered detailed and sensible advice on how to proceed and communicated in a timely and efficient fashion, offering fully costed options for treatment. They adapted to the time constraints caused by other work on the building and the fund-sourcing process. They worked with great care in rather cold and difficult circumstances (e.g. from scaffolding in limited space) and still had time to discuss the progress of the work with staff on site and myself, and show interest in our many questions. Whilst considering and explaining clearly the practical aspects of the work they also provided a very detailed account of the historical context and added greatly to the knowledge about the paintings. Once work was completed they produced an extremely detailed, illustrated, 63-page report explaining not only the conservation work but the historical context and significance of the paintings, the source material, the conservation history, technology of original execution (including pigments) and remedial treatments, and recommendations for future protection. They also provided a large selection of photographs showing the work which had been carried out and many pictorial details which are otherwise hard to view.
Following completion of the work they were asked to come back to the Museum to give a talk for a WEA workshop in March 2020, which they did with great success.
I cannot recommend them too highly. They are a pleasure to work with; extremely thorough and extremely competent and completely professional in their approach.
Catherine Willson, Collections Officer, Herefordshire Museum ServiceBlack and White House Museum, Hereford: Conservation and Cleaning of 16th/17th-Century Wall Paintings
In 2017, when the triforium was being converted into the new Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries, Rickerby and Shekede were commissioned to prepare a schedule and description of the sculptures, together with a condition report and recommendations for cleaning and conservation. Their report was speedily prepared, highly professional, well illustrated and readily comprehensible.
Rickerby and Shekede were immediately commissioned to carry out the programme of work required to clean, conserve and present the sculptures as part of the new gallery display. Not only did they execute the work to a high standard, but also prepared a thorough report on their findings and the treatment given. An important aspect of the report was their archaeological analysis of each sculpture, its manufacture and decoration. This revealed variations in the quality of the sculptures, indications that some were unfinished, and clear evidence that they were intended to be polychromatic, but decorating had been abandoned after preparatory layers of paint were applied to some of the figures.
It was a pleasure to engage with Rickerby and Shekede on this project: their work was excellent, and important new evidence relating to the history and decoration of Henry III's triforium was revealed.
Professor Warwick Rodwell, OBE, FSA Consultant Archaeologist Westminster AbbeyWestminster Abbey, Triforium sculpture
MA in art history, University of Aberdeen
Courtauld Institute of Art/Getty Conservation Institute Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Wall Painting
1-year internship organised by the Courtauld Institute and the Getty Conservation Institute, divided between work on the Getty Conservation Institute’s Tomb of Nefertari Project in Egypt and at wall painting sites under the care of English Heritage
Wall painting consultant to the Getty Conservation Institute on the following projects: the Tomb of Nefertari Project, Egypt (1990-92); the Royal bas-reliefs of Abomey, Benin, West Africa (1995-1999); the Cave 85 Project, Dunhuang, China (1999-2004); the Queens Valley Project, Egypt (2006-2010); and the Tutankhamun Project (2009-2013)
Supervisor of Courtauld Institute fieldwork sites in the UK, Malta, Cyprus, Jordan, Georgia, Bhutan and China
Private practice with Lisa Shekede
Wall painting conservation consultant for the Ethiopian Heritage Fund