Interview with Andrew Lerwill

Andrew joined IPI as a research scientist in 2013 – bringing with him a wide range of work experience from the farm fields of Devon to the oil fields of Dubai and in scientific labs at prestigious museums and conservation research facilities. Andrew is a deep thinker and a keen observer, who is always overflowing with ideas.

Dr. Andrew LerwillName:  
Andrew Lerwill
I have been at IPI since July 2013. In 2006 I joined the Tate in London, UK, as a research scientist working on the anoxic framing of watercolors. In 2011, I started a post-doctoral fellowship at The Getty Conservation Institute where my research was in museum lighting.

Where were you born?
I am from Devon in the southwest of England.

What was your professional training?
I have Ph.D. in Physics, an M.Sc. in Applied and Modern Optics, and a B.Sc. in Physics. I also learnt about museums, archives and conservation from just being in the field.

What was your very first job?
I worked at Arlington Court, a National Trust country house close to where I grew up. It is the home of the mysterious Arlington Court Picture by Blake. I was 14 and I washed dishes.

What would your dream job be?
I want to pursue my interests and conduct research which advances knowledge and hopefully has an impact in this field.

How did your partnership with IPI begin?
I saw an advertisement on the Conservation Distlist around the time I was leaving my post-doc. Within a few weeks I was planning to start here.

Why does the preservation of museum and library collections matter to you?
I was once told jokingly that if you ever have a choice between saving yourself or the object, remember you can be replaced. We will not be here in centuries but these things need to be.

What is your favorite work of art or your favorite artist?
Composition No. 10 Pier with Ocean by Piet Mondrian had a very big impact on me.

What other hobbies or significant interests do you have?
Snowboarding and I like to travel. Fortunately I am also very interested in cultural heritage.

What is the most surprising thing to you about IPI?
IPI spans the gap between scientific rigor and the necessary relevance in conservation; this is combined with education and outreach. Not many places can do that.