The Royal College of Physicians: Dame Margaret Turner-Warwick Portrait

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Grant Scheme

Tru Vue Conservation & Exhibition Grant Scheme

Award Year


Grant Sum Awarded


Icon Accredited Conservator

Annie Ablett ACR


A Tru Vue Conservation & Exhibition Grant was awarded to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) Museum to glaze a portrait of Dame Margaret Turner-Warwick by David Poole (1992).

Dame Turner-Warwick was a leading doctor of lung diseases, a significant woman in medicine who was instrumental in raising the profile of respiratory medicine within the NHS. She was the first elected woman president in the RCP’s over 500-year history. 

After the completion of the glazing of the painting and conservation work, the portrait has returned to public display. 


 Conservation and display issues 

  • The painting was displayed in the historic Censors’ Room which is a multi-use space, used as a gallery, featured on public tours, and is a hireable commercial space. Although visitor numbers are controlled, due to the limited space it was not possible to maintain a permanent, protective barrier on the floor at a distance from the painting. The conservation risk was therefore from visitors and clients getting too close and causing abrasions to the surface of the canvas. 
  • Unsightly dust and surface pollutants settling on the canvas presented a further risk, due to the central London location of the building. 


 The conservation treatments 

 The conservation treatments were undertaken by Icon accredited member Annie Ablett ACR:

  • The frame underwent a structural treatment in the studio, during which time a build up to the top edge of the rebate section was added so that the rebate was deep enough to carry the glazing components and the painting.

  • The painting was assessed and lightly dusted with a sable brush to remove urban dust accumulation. 
  • Small areas of gesso loss were in-filled. 
  • The painting was refitted in the frame with brass picture plates and Plastazote spacers.


  • A clear, twin-wall polycarbonate backboard was added to the build up and sealed with water-activated paper tape.

  • Tru Vue glass was fitted and the painting was rehung in the Censor’s Room.

The grant funded professional art handers to transport the artwork to Annie’s studio and later return it to display. 

The project will support the longevity and improve the appearance of a painting of a very important figure in the history of women in medicine, Dame Turner-Warwick, to be enjoyed by museum visitors and commercial clients. 

The painting is an integral part of the Museum’s interpretation strategy and will be used to educate and inspire visitors about the history of women in medicine. 

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