How To Apply To Intern With The Royal Family & Learn More About Conservation And The Royal Collection
Are you enthusiastic about art conservation? Do you dig the idea of working for the Royal Family? Are you either a British citizen or legally allowed to work in the UK? Good news: This internship with the Royal Household — specifically with the Royal Collection Trust — might be the job opportunity you’ve been looking for to jumpstart your burgeoning career as a conservationist. You do, however, have to act quickly if you want to apply: The closing date for the listing is Oct. 29, 2017. That’s just four days from now, so go on and brush up your resume or CV, stat.
The Royal Collection is “one of the most important art collections in the world,” according to the Royal Collection Trust website. It consists of over a million objects covering pretty much every type of fine and decorative art you can think of, all of which are spread out across 13 royal residences and former royal residences in the UK. They’re often available for public viewing; indeed, the Royal Collection Trust’s responsibilities include running the program of exhibitions in a number of locations (namely London, Windsor, and Edinburgh) and managing the public opening of royal residences ranging from Buckingham Palace in London to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Speaking of the Royal Collection Trust, that’s the department of the Royal Household responsible for looking after the Royal Collection. (It’s one of five departments that make up the Royal Household — the others being the Private Secretary’s Office, which “supports The Queen in her crucial constitutional, governmental and political duties as Head of State”; the Privy Purse and Treasurer’s Office, which “enables the Household to operate as a business”; the Master of the Household’s Department, which “handles everything involved in the official and private entertaining across all the Royal residences”; and the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, which is “responsible for organizing those elements of The Queen’s programme that involve ceremonial activity or public facing events”). The Royal Collection Trust has three branches divided by type of art — Paintings, Decorative Arts, and the Royal Library — each branch of which typically offers its own internship.
The internship in the spotlight right now is with the Decorative Arts branch of the Royal Collection Trust, with a focus on ceramics. According to the job listing, the position will work in London with the team at Marlborough House Workshops (so, no, if you land it, you won’t be working daily at Buckingham or Kensington Palace, although you might occasionally be sent to other royal residences), where you’ll “gain practical experience in a wide range of conservation activities for our collection of ceramics and decorative art.” You’ll both get hands-on experience restoring pieces, learning traditional techniques for assembling, filling, retouching, and preparation, as well as get experience with the departments’ conservation and curatorial management systems.
For the curious, this is Marlborough House:
A document available for download on the job listing’s main page provides even more info about the position; for example, the Conservation Intern will report primarily to the Senior Conservator, but will likely end up working alongside pretty much everyone on the conservation team at some point, as well as occasionally with other Royal Household employees. There might be a small bit of public-facing work, as well. Tasks will include (but, I’d be willing to guess, aren’t limited to):
Examining ceramics and decorative objects to determine treatment options
Washing and deep cleaning of objects and associated components
Dismantling old breaks and repairs
Gluing and assembling broken objects
Preparation and use of various types of filling compounds
Modelling and replacement of larger missing components/areas
Re-touching/color matching of remodeled and filled areas
Assisting with documentation in treatment report
The position is paid, although since it’s an internship, don’t expect the big bucks; you’ll earn a salary of £19,012.50, or about $25,174.55 USD, working just under 38 hours a week Monday through Friday. It starts in January 2018 and runs through September 2018.
Promising candidates will already have at least some knowledge and experience in restoring ceramics, as well as good communication skills (both written and verbal), the ability to work both as a team player and independently, excellent organizational skills, and an eye for detail. It’s not required that you have a degree either directly in conservation and restoration or a related subject (hi there, art students and art historians), but since it’s listed as “Desirable” on the additional information document, it’d probably give you a leg up if you do.
This isn’t the first time an internship with the Royal Family has made the news; in 2016, Prince Harry announced nine six-week-long internship positions as part of the Royal Household Hospitality Scholarships, which also made waves. What’s more, the Conservation Intern isn’t the only position available right now with the Royal Family: Windsor Castle is looking for a Collections Information Intern, Buckingham Palace needs a Ticketing and Sales Assistant Manager, and Charles and Camilla need a Communications Administrator at Clarence House. William, Kate, and Harry were also looking for a Senior Communications Officer at Kensington Palace as of a few days ago, according to Town and Country; however, although the listing is still live and the closing date for applications isn’t until Oct. 26, it doesn’t appear to show up on the main Current Vacancies page on their job board, so I’m not totally sure what the status on that one is. Do with that what you will.
In any event, though, if you’re a British citizen or otherwise legally allowed to work in the UK, you’ve got options. Some of them are Royal. And that’s pretty rad. Good luck, candidates!