Katy Lithgow ACR

An accredited conservator specialising in preventive conservation, wall painting conservation, and conservation management of collections and historic interiors, Katy worked for the National Trust for 27 years, serving as Head Conservator from 2005 to 2019. She was also a Trustee of the National Heritage Science Forum, and Chair of Icon’s PACR Accreditation Committee, winning the Plowden Medal in 2020. Now a freelance consultant providing advice, talks and publications, Katy’s regular roles include lecturing for City & Guilds of London Art School, and acting as an external examiner for the Institute of Archaeology, member of Southwark Cathedral’s Fabric Advisory Committee, and from June 2022, Chair of Historic England’s Historic Estate Conservation Committee.



  • 2004, UEA Museum Leadership Programme, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
  • 2000, PACR/AMUKIC Accredited status, Icon, London, UK.
  • 1992-2019, NT training courses on consultancy, management, technical and presentation, National Trust, Swindon, UK.
  • 1990, Wolbers New Methods in Cleaning Paintings Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, USA.
  • 1989, Mac and Mee Pigments and the Polarising Microscope, Peter and Ann McTaggart, Somerset, UK.
  • 1989, Certificate of Advanced Practical Training (after 1 yr as V&A intern), Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK.
  • 1986-88, Diploma in the Conservation of Wall Paintings, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK.
  • 1982-85, New Hall, University of Cambridge, BA Hons 2:1 in the History of Art (Pt 1 Arch. & Anth.), Cambridge, UK.


  • 2019 – , Independent Consultant, Consultant affiliated to Trusted Conservators (Palaces of Westminster, Lloyd’s Collection), lecturer (City & Guilds of London Art School), external examiner (Institute of Archaeology), and writer (GCI Coming Clean book).2005-2009,  Head Conservator, The National Trust, UK.
  • 2002-2005, Conservation Advisers Manager, The National Trust, UK.
  • 1995-2005, Wall Paintings Conservation Adviser, The National Trust, UK.
  • 1995-2005, Conservator, Assistant to the Housekeeper, The National Trust, UK.
  • 1991-1995, Area Conservator E Midlands, N Wales and Mercia, The National Trust, UK.
  • 1989-1991, Lecturer/Co-ordinator of the GCI/CIA Course in the Conservation of Wall Paintings, Courtauld Institute of Art, Conservation of Wall Painting, UK.


  • Member of IIC Wellington, New Zealand Congress 2022 Technical Committee, 2021-2022
  • Member of Southwark Cathedral Fabric Advisory Committee, 2021 –
  • Member of Historic England’s Historic Estate Conservation Committee (HECC) and Chair from June 2022, 2021 –
  • Winner of The Plowden Medal 2020, 2020
  • External Examiner for UCL Institute of Archaeology Postgraduate Archaeology Board of Examiners, 2019 –
  • Lecturer City & Guilds BA Conservation (Principles, Management & Strategy, and Sustainability), 2019 –
  • Member of Technical Committee and session Chair for IIC’s 2020 Edinburgh Congress, 2019-2020
  • Icon Ethics Task & Finish Group member, 2017-2020
    Member, NT Trustee and Vice Chair of National Heritage Science Forum, NT Trustee & Vice Chair, following membership of Steering Group for the UK National Heritage Science Strategy, 2010-2019
  • Lecturer on sustainability for ICCROM Built Heritage Course, 2008-2012
  • Teaching on managing collections conservation for Institute of Archaeology Masters in Conservation course and the Courtauld Institute Wall Painting Conservation course, 2007-201
  • Member of Cultural Heritage Skills Panel of Creative and Cultural Skills , the Sector Skills Council for Creative and Cultural Industries in capacity as representing an employer, 2006-2009
  • NT representative on Conservation Register Advisory Board, 2005-2016
  • 2011 Chair of PACR (Professional Accredited Conservator-Restorer) Accreditation Committee, Icon (Deputy Chair and wall paintings representative of Stone and Wall Paintings Group until 2011), 2003-2018
  • Member of Board of Studies of Courtauld Institute of Art, Conservation of Wall Painting Course, 2002-2005


  • Coming Clean collaborative research project investigating professional and public attitudes to cleaning levels, led by UCL Qatar, with Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, UCL Institute of Archaeology, Cologne University of Applied Sciences, and CCI, 2012 –  .
  • New tools for managing daylight exposure of works of art in historic house museums, using Climate Based Daylight Monitoring and HDR photography. NT research with Loughborough University (Prof John Mardaljevic) and Imperial (Dr Stephen Cannon-Brookes), 2011-2019.
  • Climate for Culture EU funded project with 27 partners investigating impacts of changing climate on historic buildings and contents in Europe and Mediterranean, 2009-2014.
  • Leverhulme dust research project ‘Controls on “irreversible” soiling: Minimizing damage to indoor artefacts’ Steering committee member of with English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces and UEA, 1999-2008.


  • *Lithgow, K. and Lloyd, H. (2022) A Long View of Change in Caring for Historic House Interiors: from Housekeeping to Preventive Conservation, Collections Care and Beyond. Studies in Conservation, 67:sup1, 140-149, DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2022.2059643
  • *Lithgow, K. and Lloyd, H. (2021) For whose benefit? Integrating people and conservation. Transcending Boundaries: Integrated Approaches to Conservation. ICOM-CC 19th Triennial Conference Preprints, Beijing, 17–21 May 2021, ed. J. Bridgland. Paris: International Council of Museums. https://www.icom-cc-publications-online.org/4476/For-whose-benefit-Integrating-people-and-conservation
  • Zykubek, K., Proudfoot, T., Lithgow, K., and Carpenter, D. (2020) Research on the selection of biocides for the ‘disinfection’ of statues and masonry at the National Trust (UK). Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 2020, vol. 43, no.3, 225-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/19455224.2020.1810092
  • Lithgow, K. (2020). Delivering the National Trust’s preservation purpose: mission, strategy and structure. Insight – Non-Destructive Testing and Condition Monitoring, March 2020, vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 152-159. https://doi.org/10.1784/insi.2020.62.3.152.
  • Blades, N., Mardaljevic, J., Lithgow, K., Cannon-Brookes, S, O’Hagan, L., and McGrady, S. (2020) Improved Daylight Management of Historic Showrooms: A Methodology Based on Detailed Recording and Analysis. Studies in Conservation, Issue sup1: Special issue: IIC 2020 Edinburgh Congress preprints, vol. 65, 18-24. https://doi.org/10.1080/00393630.2020.1755798
  • Blades, N. and Lithgow, K. (2018) A Historic Change at a Historic House: Climate Management at Knole. Conservation Perspectives: The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter: Collection Environments, Fall 2018, vol.33, no.2, 16-17.  https://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/newsletters/33_2/historic_change.html
  • Dillon, C., Golfomitsou, S., Storey, C. and Lithgow, K. (2019) A clear view: crowdsourcing conservation needs in historic houses using visitor-led photo surveys. Museum Management and Curatorship, 34:2, 144-165. DOI: 10.1080/09647775.2018.1520642
  • Blades, N., Lithgow, K., Staniforth, S., and Hayes, B. (2018) Conservation Heating 24 Years On. Studies in Conservation, Volume 63, 2018: sup1, 15-21. DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2018.1504457
  • * Lithgow, K., Golfomitsou, S., and Dillon, C. (2018) Coming Clean about Cleaning. Professional and Public Perspectives: Are Conservators Truthful and Visitors Useful in Decision-making? Studies in Conservation, Vol 63, 2018: sup1, 392-6. DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2018.1479929
  • Golfomitsou, S., Ravaioli, F., Tully, C., McArthur, G. and Lithgow, K. (207) Off the record: Using data mining to review decision making in conservation practice.’ ICOM-CC 18th Triennial Conference Preprints, Copenhagen, 4–8 September 2017, ed. J. Bridgland. Paris: International Council of Museums, art. 0202. https://www.icom-cc-publications-online.org/1684/Off-the-record–Using-data-mining-to-review-decision-making-in-conservation-practice
  • Cannon-Brookes, S., Mardaljevic, J., Lithgow, K., and Blades N. (2017) New developments in understanding daylight exposure in heritage interiors. ICOM-CC 18th Triennial Conference Preprints, Copenhagen, 4–8 September 2017, ed. J. Bridgland. Paris: International Council of Museums, art.  1505. https://www.icom-cc-publications-online.org/1692/New-developments-in-understanding-daylight-exposure-in-heritage-interiors
  • * Lithgow, K., and Lloyd, H. (2017). Direct preventive conservation – Using information from the past to prevent small issues in the present from becoming bigger problems in the future. ICOM-CC 18th Triennial Conference Preprints, Copenhagen, 4–8 September 2017, ed. J. Bridgland. Paris: International Council of Museums, art.  1513. https://www.icom-cc-publications-online.org/1622/Direct-preventive-conservation–Using-information-from-the-past-to-prevent-small-issues-in-the-present-from-becoming-bigger-problems-in-the-future
  • * Lithgow, K. (2015) Communicating Conservation Science. Conservation Science: papers arising from the ICCROM FORUM on Conservation Science, Rome, 16-18 October 2013, Eds A. Heritage, S. Golfomitsou, Studies in Conservation Vol. 60 Supplement 2, S2 57-63. DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2015.1117856
  • Blades, N., Lithgow, K., Cannon-Brookes, S. and Mardaljevic, J. (2016) New tools for managing daylight exposure of works of art: case study of Hambletonian, Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland. Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 40:1, 15-33, DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2016.1214610
  • * Lloyd, H., and Lithgow, K. (2014) Using 20:20 hindsight to prepare for 2020: the management of growing visitor communities at historic houses. Preprints ICOM-CC 17th Conference, Building Strong Culture through Conservation, Melbourne 2014. https://www.icom-cc-publications-online.org/1345/Using-20-20-hindsight-to-prepare-for-2020–the-management-of-growing-visitor-communities-at-historic-houses—
  • * Lithgow, K., and Timbrell, H. (2014) How better volunteering can improve conservation: why we need to stop wondering whether volunteering in conservation is a good thing and just get better at doing it well. Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 37:1, 3-14, DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2013.873730
  • Blades, N., Jessep, H., and Lithgow, K. (2013) The role of historic house heating systems in collections climate control at the National Trust. In Ashley-Smith, J., Burmeester, A. and Eibl, M. (Ed.s), Climate for Collections: Standards and Uncertainties, Munich: Doerner Institute 2013, 127-140. https://www.climateforculture.eu/index.php?inhalt=dissemination.publications
  • * Lithgow, K., Lloyd, H., and Tyler-Jones, M. (2012) Conservation for Access Redux: narrative, visitor flow and conservation. The Artifact, Its Context and Their Narrative. Multidisciplinary conservation in Historic House Museums, ICOM DEMHIST and ICOM CC https://icom-demhist.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Conference-Proceedings.-Los-Angeles-2012.pdf
  • * Lithgow, K., Boden, N, Hill, M., Lithgow, R., and Measures, K. (2012) A ‘once in a lifetime’ experience: ‘Conservation in action’ for Thornhill’s wall paintings at Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire, UK. Studies in Conservation, 57:sup1, S181-S190, DOI: 10.1179/2047058412Y.0000000042
  • Editorial panel member and co/author of chapters on ‘Storage’, ‘Painted Interiors’ and ‘Polychrome Sculpture’ (with C. Sitwell and T. Proudfoot), and ‘Physical Agents of Deterioration’ (with H. Lloyd) in the National Trust Manual of Housekeeping, London: Butterworths Heineman, 2006, revised 2011 (and current revision).
  • * Lithgow, K. (2011) Sustainable decision making – change in National Trust collections conservation. Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 34:1, 128-142, DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2011.582457
  • Lithgow, K., and Thackray, D. (2009) The National Trust’s approach to conservation. English Heritage Conservation Bulletin: Conservation Principles in Practice, 60, 16-19 https://nt.global.ssl.fastly.net/documents/the-evolution-of-conservation-principles.pdf.
  • * Lithgow, K., Staniforth, S., and Etheridge, P. (2008) Prioritizing Access in the Conservation of National Trust Collections. Studies in Conservation, 53:sup1, 178-185, DOI: 10.1179/sic.2008.53.Supplement-1.178
  • Lawlor, J.D., and Lithgow, K. (2007). Chapter 8: The National Trust and Hinemihi at Clandon Park – Conservation in the National Trust. In D. Sully (Ed), Decolonising Conservation: Caring for Maori meeting houses outside New Zealand, 2007, Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, 149-152.
  • * Lithgow, K., Curteis, T., and Bullock, L. (2007) Managing external environments through preventive conservation: the investigation and control of environmentally-caused deterioration of decorative surfaces in the Marlborough Pavilion, Chartwell, Kent. Museum Microclimates, Copenhagen: Nationalmuseet, 175-184. https://www.padfield.org/tim/cfys/mm/lithgow/lithgow.pdf
  • Lloyd, H., Brimblecombe, P., and Lithgow, K. (2007) Economics of dust’ with H. Lloyd, P. Brimblecombe, in Studies in Conservation  52:2, 135-146, DOI: 10.1179/sic.2007.52.2.135
  • Lloyd, H., Lithgow, K., Brimblecombe, P., Hun Yoon, Y., Frame, K., and Knight, B. (2002) The effects of visitor activity on dust on historic collections. The Conservator, 26:1, 72-84, DOI: 10.1080/01410096.2002.9995179
  • Lithgow, K., and Stewart, J. (2001) Conservation strategies for damp buildings and plaster: Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire’, with John Stewart. Journal of Architectural Conservation, 7:2, 7-26, DOI: 10.1080/13556207.2001.10785291
  • Nason, G., and Lithgow, K. (1999) Environmental monitoring of the Great Painted Staircase at Knole’, with G. Nason, The Conservator23:1, 57-67, DOI: 10.1080/01410096.1999.9995139

* publications delivered as presentations at conference


And see * publications above (papers accompanied by presentations).


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