Exploring David Parr’s Painting with Mary Kempski

Cambridge University

April 17

Holly O'Brien

Employed as an art decorator on many grand commissions, David Parr painted his own small terraced house in his spare time over 40 years and created remarkable arts and crafts-inspired decoration. Mary will shed light on the conservation that took place behind the scenes before the house was opened to the public and share the exciting discoveries that were revealed during the house’s restoration. Not without its difficult decisions, the restoration process for 186 Gwydir Street enabled conservators, staff and volunteers to have a greater appreciation of this unique family house, lived in and loved over the decades. Mary’s talk will be followed by a Q&A discussion. Light refreshments will be provided. Please note: this talk is in-person, limited to 20 people and does not include a tour of the house. All money raised from talks and events at David Parr House goes towards maintaining the house and collection. Thank you for supporting us. About Mary Kempski: Mary Kempski is a trained paintings conservator. Having completed a degree in fine art and history of art she undertook postgraduate training at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge University, in the conservation of easel paintings. For the most part, her career was spent as a member of staff at the Hamilton Kerr Institute. She became a senior conservator and assistant to the director and conserved paintings of all periods, which included the Westminster Retable, from Westminster Abbey, the oldest altarpiece painted in England, to Monet’s ‘Poplars’ in the Fitzwilliam Museum. Her main interest is in historic painting techniques and she taught courses to students making reconstructions of paintings from several different historic periods. Mary has contributed to many publications in the field and has appeared on Channel 4’s television programme ‘How to paint the Mona Lisa’ where she advised and gave practical demonstrations on Leonardo’s technique. She has given technical paint and conservation tours at the David Parr House and she also paints herself.