City & Guilds Level 4 Diploma in Painting and Frame Conservation

Connections with other qualifications

The Level 4 Diploma in Painting and Frame Conservation, is designed to be a progression from the City & Guilds 7716 Level 2 and 3 Certificates in Picture and Frame Conservation


To achieve the Level 4 Diploma in Design and Craft – Picture and Frame Conservation learners must achieve all 8 mandatory units.

City & Guilds unit number

401 Research for Advanced Picture Conservation

402 Health and Safety

403 Documentation for Conservation Work

404 Conservation versus Conservation

405 Assessment of Paintings, Frames and Proposed Treatments

406 Chemistry in Conservation Work

407 Using Relining and Invisible Inlays

408 Colouring and Retouching

Unit 401

Research for Advanced Picture Conservation


Unit rationale

Note: The folio presented for assessment must be original work, designed, drafted and produced by the candidate.


The aim of this unit is to produce an advanced visual design study, a reference showing detailed, in-depth research and exploration into an artist, art period or style of painting to provide understanding of the techniques and materials used.

The unit will assess the candidate’s ability to use a range of research methods to explore the topic.

The candidate will use a variety of materials and mediums to develop an advanced visual study using the topic as inspiration. The work will be based on highly personal approach, in order to continue and enhance the development of contextual studies within the conservation process.

Candidates will evaluate the completed work, processes and techniques used, to inform future work.


There are five outcomes for this unit. The candidate will be able to:

  1. select a major artist, art period or style of painting as inspiration for the study, and an area of focus within it, when planning the research
  2. identify, retrieve, select and extract relevant contextual information from a variety of sources
  3. use a range of materials, mediums and techniques to explore and produce visual ideas
  4. produce and present the body of work in a logical, organised and appropriate form
  5. be able to understand the application of specific research studies to advanced conservation work.


The five outcomes for this unit will be assessed using evidence from practical activities, which take the form of:

  • practical exercises designed to assess the skills of the candidate in producing a body of detailed research work based upon an artist, art period or style of painting
  • a folio of work consisting of planning, evaluation and the underpinning knowledge to support the practical activities

Candidates will select a theme and prepare a folio of design work consisting of exploratory studies and resolved ideas. Throughout this work, candidates will use the design elements – colour, texture, line, shape and form and the design principles – balance, rhythm, contrast and dominance, harmony, scale and proportion.

Candidates will produce the following:

A major body of work of visual research based upon a selected theme.

The body of work will contain:

  • a brief written introduction, indicating the reason for selecting the initial theme and area of focus
  • a plan for the research activity, including a timescale
  • visual records of inspirational material and experimental ideas based upon the research
  • a written bibliography, webliography and catalogue of research resources relevant to the theme
  • a written evaluation of not more than 750 words, summarising the outcome of the Research for Advanced Picture Conservation

The candidate will select the artist, art period or style of painting for the research.


For a full handbook for this course please click here