Cheryl Porter

Cheryl Porter is a books and paper conservator who has worked in the UK and around the world. She has led major conservation projects at the Montefiascone Seminary Library and the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation, as well as freelance conservation work with a wide range of clients. She has taught and lectured throughout Europe, the USA and Egypt and has been published in many conservation journals and publications. Over a 14 year period, she conducted a series of field research, collecting and analysing pigments around the world, including sea snails from Italy and Kermes insects from Languedoc, France.

Cheryl is a member of many professional bodies including the International Council of Museums, American Institute for Conservation, International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works  and the Institute of Conservation. She is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and has been the Secretary of the Islamic Manuscript Association (TIMA): Conservation sub-committee and Advisor to the Friends of the Coptic Museum and curators.


  • 1988-90, BA Degree: Conservation (Books, Manuscripts and Archives), University of the Arts, London.
  • 1969-72, BA Hons Degree: History and International Relations, University of West Australia, Perth.


  • 2012-Present,  Advisor and Consultant Friends of the Coptic Museum
  • 2011-Present, Advisor and Consultant Conservation Department, Library of Alexandria
  • 1990-Present, Director of the Montefiascone Seminary Library Conservation and Preservation Project, Italy
  • 1993-Present, Director of the Montefiascone Summer School, Italy
  • 2009-2011, Deputy Director of the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and Dar al-Kutub (National Library) Manuscript Project, Cairo
  • 2007-2009, Head of Conservation and Preservation for the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and Dar al-Kutub Manuscript Project, Cairo
  • 2005, Consultant to the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation
  • 2003 – 2010, Conservator of the Wollaton Antiphonal
  • 1996-2006, Freelance Conservator and Consultant



  • Lecturer and teacher of workshops at universities, institutions and libraries throughout the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Egypt, Australia and New Zealand.
  • 1992-96, Working with Cambridge College Libraries Consortium, Undertaking research on pigments in manuscripts in a number of Cambridge collections, and analysis, conservation and consolidation of pigments in manuscripts. Conservation of a number of medieval manuscripts belonging to the Cambridge University collections.
  • 1993-95, Honorary Research Fellow, History of Art Department, University of London. Founder member (in collaboration with UCL Department of Chemistry) of a Leverhulme-funded research programme for non-destructive analysis of pigments in medieval manuscripts.
  • 1990-92, Analyst, Painting Analysis Unit, University College, University of London. Analysis of pigment and media on paintings, polychrome sculpture and manuscripts.


  • 2014, Local traditions and the use of local products in a XV century English Manuscript. Craft Treatises and Handbooks: The Dissemination of Technical Knowledge in the middle Ages. Christophe Lebbe (edit), Bepols.
  • 2013, The identification of yellow, green, red and blue organic colours in a 15th century English Antiphonal: New ideas, old traditions. Dyes in History and Archaeology, 23.
  • 2012, The identification of shellfish purple in an 8th century insular manuscript. Dyes in History and Archaeology, 22.
  • 2011, Color in Islamic Art and Culture, J. Bloom and S Blair (edit), Yale University Press, New Haven and London. “Color analysis and the role of economics, geography and tradition in the artist’s choice of color for manuscript painting.”
  • 2011, Canvas Magazine: Art and Culture from the Middle East and Arab World, vol7, 2011. Ali Y. Khadra (edit), “Colour Me Beautiful”.
  • 2007,  Care and Conservation of Manuscripts 10, University of Copenhagen,“The Meaning of Colour and Why Analyse: Examples from a 15th century English manuscript.”
  • 2006,  Tintas y Pigmentos. Jornados Tecnicas Sobre Restauracion de Documentos. Pamplona, 23 y 24 noviembre de 2006.
  • 2005, L’Alun De Méditerranée, Colloque International, Naples/Aix-en-Provence, 2004. Philippe Borgard, Jean-Pierre Brun et Maurice Picon (edit) “The use of Alum in the preparation of tawed skin for book covers in 11th-15th centuries: advantages and disadvantages for the book structure.”
  • 2003, VAR Dutch Organisation of Restorers: Conference Proceedings, The Hague, October 2001, N.Kersten (edit), “Some solutions to the problems of consolidating pigments on parchment.”
  • 2002, Poster (in collaboration with Professor Giacomo Chiari, University of Torino, Italy. Andrea Cavallo, ASSING SpA, Roma)). “Eight Manuscripts and Fragments from the Fifth/Sixth Century to Twelfth Century: Identification of Real Purple in Manuscripts”, 7th International Conference on Non-Destructive Testing and Microanalysis for the Diagnostics and Conservation of the Cultural and Environmental Heritage, University of Antwerp, Antwerp (2002).
  • 2001, Dyes in History and Archaeology, 17. J.Kirby (edit), National Gallery, London, Archetype Press. “The colouring of alum tawed skins on late medieval books.”
  • 1999, Conservazione Dei Materiali Librari  Archivistici e Grafici, Torino. M.Regni e P.G. Tordella (edit), “Pigments on parchment – flaking and consolidation.”
  • 1997, Care and Conservation of Manuscripts, University of Copenhagen. G.Fellows-Jensen and P.Springborg (edit), “The Medieval Blues – a simple technique for basic identification.”
  • 1996, Conservazione negli Archivi e nelle Biblioteche, 3 Roma, 1996. C.Federicci and L.Gottscha (edit), “Il riconoscimento dei pigmenti nella miniature: indagini e analisi effettuabili press oil laboratorio di restauro.”
  • 1995, Studies in Conservation, vol.40, Number 1. “Identification by Raman Spectroscopy and visible reflectance spectroscopy of pigments on an Icelandic manuscript.”
  • 1995, Making the Medieval Book: Techniques of Production, L.Brownrigge (edit), Anderson Lovelace, Calif. “You can’t tell a pigment by its colour.”
  • 1994, Conservation and Preservation in Small Libraries, N.Hadgraft (edit), Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. “Some considerations in regard to the need for pigment identification and some methods suggested.”
  • 1992, The Paper Conservator, 16. “Laser Raman Spectroscopy- a tool for non-destructive pigment analysis for manuscripts.”

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