Working to preserve our painted past

Opus Conservation specialises in the conservation of wall painting and other decorated architectural surfaces. We are based in the UK and have a portfolio of national and international experience encompassing;

Cultural heritage documentation

Condition assessment with technical and diagnostic investigation

Control and treatment of deterioration in wall paintings and other decorated architectural surfaces

We have experience of a range of historical periods and in a variety of media from modern and Victorian to Ancient Egyptian paintings.



Our philosophy is to offer a holistic approach to conservation. We work with a network of conservation professionals and organisations to provide a comprehensive service in the documentation, investigation and treatment of decorated architectural surfaces.

Our team have experience working with a range of institutions including The Courtauld Institute of Art, University College London, The Palace of Westminster, Historic Royal Palaces and The Getty Conservation Institute.



Our Team



  • Samuel Whittaker

    Samuel completed a degree in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, followed by an MA in the Conservation of Wall Paintings at the Courtauld Institute of Art. At the Courtauld Samuel undertook research in natural organic pigments and photo-induced luminescence imaging. He has subsequently undertaken research into the identification of historic pigments and the use of photogrammetry for the conservation of wall paintings. He also spent a year as a Graduate Intern at the Getty Conservation Institute working on the Conservation and Management of the Tomb of Tutankhamen and the Conservation and Rehabilitation Plan for the Kasbah of Taourirt.

    As a qualified wall painting  professional he has worked on projects in the UK (The Palace of Westminster, Painted Hall Greenwich, Knole House) and internationally (India, Bhutan, Georgia and Cyprus). He has also supervised Masters students on large scale international conservation projects.

    Samuel teaches the week long course for emerging conservators 'Condition assessment with technical imaging' at the Leon Levy Foundation Centre for Conservation Studies at Nagaur'.


    Martin de Fonjaudran C, Acocella A, Accorsi G, Tamburini D, Verri G, Rava A, Whittaker S, Zerbetto F, Saunders D, Optical and theoretical investigation of Indian yellow (euxanthic acid and euxanthone), Dyes and Pigments (2017), doi: 10.1016/j.dyepig.2017.05.034.


    Diego Tamburini, Charlotte Martin de Fonjaudran, Giovanni Verri, Gianluca Accorsi, Angela Acocella, Francesco Zerbetto, Amarilli Rava, Samuel Whittaker, David Saunders, Sharon Cather, New insights into the composition of Indian yellow and its use in a Rajasthani wall painting, Microchemical Journal, Volume 137, 2018, Pages 238-249, ISSN 0026-265X,


    Percy, K., et al. “Documentation for emergency condition mapping of Decorated historic surfaces at the Caid Residence, the Kasbah of Taourirt (Ouarzazate, Morocco).” ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences 2.5 (2015): 229.



    Whittaker, S. (2016) “Recent advances in imaging technology for the conservator.” unpublished presentation at: ICON Conference 2016 turn and face the change, June 15-16th 2016, Birmingham, UK.


    Whittaker, S. (2017)  "Photogrammetric gigapixel imaging of monumental wall paintings with visible, infrared and ultraviolet radiation." unpublished presentation at: NCPTT, 3D Digital Documentation Summit, April 18-20th 2017. New Orleans, USA.

  • Dr. Lizzie Woolley, ACR


    MA Conservation of Wall Painting (Distinction), The Courtauld Institute of Art; MA (Cantab) History and Economics, University of Cambridge.

    Current member of Icon’s Stone and Wall Painting Group Committee


    Dr. Elizabeth Woolley graduated from a dedicated wall painting conservation Masters programme in 2010, and since then has worked internationally and domestically. She has extensive experience of conservation documentation, including quinquennial condition surveys of the wall paintings at the Palace of Westminster in 2011 and 2017, carried out jointly with Katey Corda. In 2012, she taught graphic documentation on the University of Malta’s Conservation of Decorative Architectural Surfaces MSc programme. She has also supervised practical work for the Courtauld Institute of Art on sites in Georgia, India and Cyprus. In the UK, she has run practical conservation projects at Hampton Court Palace and Palace of Westminster.

    In 2015, Elizabeth was Research Assistant in the History of Art and Material Studies department at University College London. The project was a collaboration with the Heritage Protection Commission, Historic England, on the impact of different LED lighting regimes on pigment alteration. As part of this, she reviewed literature on LED lighting and light-sensitive pigments.

    Elizabeth completed her PhD research on the materials and techniques of Victorian ecclesiastical wall painting, and as such is familiar with the nineteenth-century wall painting revival, and the associated new techniques, which included waterglass. She has lectured on her research to specialist and non-specialist audiences.


    Woolley, E. (2017, forthcoming). The role of The Ecclesiologist journal in the manifestation of nineteenth-century English ecclesiastical wall painting.

    Postprints: Interim Meeting of the ICOM-CC Working Group ATSR7: "Expression

    and Sensibility. Art Technological Sources at the Rise of Modernity”, Nov 2016:

    ICOM-CC, Stuttgart

    Woolley, E. (2017, forthcoming). ‘Of only modest artistic quality’: reconsidering the significance of firm ecclesiastical wall painting in England, c. 1845-1920. Preprints: Linking Past and Future: ICOM-CC Triennial Conference Copenhagen 4-8 September 2017. ICOM-CC, Copenhagen Richardson, E., Woolley, E., Corda, K., Julien-Lees, S., Pinchin, S., & Roberts, Z.

    (2017). In situ characterisation of readhesion treatments for ceiling paintings using unilateral NMR. Insight-Non- Destructive Testing and Condition Monitoring, 59(5), 249-255.

    Woolley, E., Nadolny, J., and Shekede, L. (2012). Tin relief on thirteenth-century Cypriot wall painting: technology and conservation, Preprints: The Decorative: Conservation and the Applied Arts. 24th IIC Congress, 10-14 September, 2012, Vienna. IIC, London.


    Woolley, E. (2016). English Victorian Ecclesiastical wall painting: who wanted it, who painted it, and why it matters. Manchester Victorian Society evening lecture.

    Woolley, E. (2014). Victorian mural painting: revivalist art, revolutionary technique. Fresh Brush Strokes: Contemporary Practice and innovation in wall painting conservation, meeting of the Stone and Wall Paintings Group of the Institute of Conservation

  • Dr. Amarilli Rava

    Following a degree in oriental art and archeology from the University of Naples ‘L’Orientale’, Amarilli graduated in 2010 from a specialized master’s degree in the conservation of wall painting. Her dissertation research was awarded the William M. Dietel Prize for Research in the Conservation of Wall Painting. After graduation she has joined the Getty graduate intern program, during which she has been involved on the project for the conservation and management of the wall paintings of the tomb of Tutankhamen.

    Since then she has continued her collaboration with The Getty Conservation Institute on Aspects of the conservation of Cave 85 in Mogao, China. From 2012 to 2015 Amarilli managed and supervised students on fieldwork projects for the Courtauld Institute of Art in Cyprus, India, Georgia and Bhutan. She held a lectureship position in the conservation of wall paintings at the institute until early 2018.

    Amarilli has a joint PhD with the Courtauld Institute of Art and University College London. Her research focused on assessing interventions for the re-adhesion of paint layers on lime plaster; characterizing penetration and deposition of the adhesives on the porous substrates and observing the response of materials to fluctuating environmental conditions.

    She joined Opus Conservation in October 2018 bringing to the firm her extensive experience on management and implementation of complex conservation projects and her considerable knowledge on materials for conservation.


    G. Accorsi, G. Verri, A. Acocella, D. Saunders, C Martin de Fonjaudran, D. Tamburini, A. Rava, S. Whittaker, F. Zerbetto, ‘Photophysics of artist’s pigments’ Measurement, 123, (2018) p. 293-297.

    D. Tamburini, C. Martin de Fonjaudran, G. Verri, G. Accorsi, A. Acocella, F. Zerbetto, A. Rava, S. Whittaker, D. Saunders, S. Cather, ‘New insights into the composition of Indian yellow and its use in a Rajasthani wall painting’ Microchemical Journal, 137, (2018) p. 238-249.

    C. Martin de Fonjaudran, A. Acocella, G. Accorsi, D. Tamburini, G. Verri, A. Rava, S. Whittaker, F. Zerbetto, D. Saunders, ‘Optical and theoretical investigation of Indian yellow (euxanthic acid and euxanthone)’ Dyes and Pigments, 144 (2017) 234-241.

    L. Wong, Su Bomin, Wang Xiaowei, A. Rava and N. Agnew, ‘Salt-induced flaking of wall paintings at the Mogao Grottoes, China’ Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Salt Weathering of Buildings and Stone Sculptures, 20-22 September 2017.

    L. Wong, S. Rickerby, A. Rava, A. Phenix, J. Mazurek, R. Kamel, ‘Examination of the wall paintings in Tutankhamen’s tomb: inconsistencies in original technology,’ in The Decorative: Conservation and the Applied Arts (Contributions to the Vienna Congress 10-14 September 2012), ed. S. Cather et al., London, 2012, 322-30.

    L. Wong, S. Rickerby, A. Rava, A. Sharkawi, ‘Developing approaches for conserving painted plasters in the royal tombs of the Valley of the Queens’, Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on the Study and Conservation of Earthen Architectural Heritage, Terra 2012, Lima, Peru (e-proceedings).




Our clients include


The Houses of Parliament

Historic England

Historic Royal Palaces

Parish churches

Old Royal Naval College

Private clients


Our team has experience working with a range of international conservation organisations including



The Getty Conservation Institute

The Courtauld Institute of Art

University College London

  • Get in touch

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