The Team

Katya set up the studio over 10 years ago specializing in the conservation of old master paintings and collection management. She acted as National Specialist Assistant Adviser on paintings conservation for the National Trust between 2017 and 2020. Prior to this engagement, Katya was invited to join a team of conservators on the Inspired by Knole HLF funded project conserving Knole’s outstanding painting collection. Katya is a regular conservator at Woburn Abbey, Broughton Castle, Museum of the Order of St John, The Royal College of Surgeons and the National Portrait Gallery in London. Katya began her career as an apprentice at the conservation and restoration department of the Foundation of Ricardo do Espírito Santo Silva in Lisbon. She received formal conservation training from the Courtauld Institute of Art (2007-2010) where she was a National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Society (NADFAS) scholar. In 2014 Katya founded the UA-UK Cultural Heritage Initiative, which in 2016 received the Creative Europe Collaboration Development Award from the British Council for its work to provide CPD opportunities for Ukrainian conservators.

Elisabeth Petrina is a freelance paintings conservator-restorer who joined the team in 2022. She trained at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge during which time she specialised in non-invasive analysis of paintings and preventative conservation. She has interned at Ebury Street Studio in London and the Studio or Marjan de Visser in the Hague. In 2017 she undertook the conservation, restoration and historical research of a portrait of the Protestant Reformers for Lewis town hall. Her work and findings were presented to the public and published in 2018. Elisabeth has a BSc in chemistry from the University of Liverpool and a diploma in Fine Art from Exeter College. Elisabeth has experience of treating modern and contemporary paintings using the Modular Cleaning Program developed by Chris Stavroudis, she has also taken part in the Cleaning of Acrylic Paintings (CAPS) workshop run by Dr. Bronwyn Ormsby, principal conservation scientist at Tate Gallery. Elisabeth is the conservation director for the Michael Garton (1935-2004, RWA) estate since 2019.

Valeriia Kravchenko joined the studio team in 2022. She is an icon painter and conservator-restorer with a Masters in the Conservation and Restoration of Easel Paintings from the Kyiv National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Ukraine and a Bachelors from the Lviv National Academy of Arts specializing in iconography. Parallel to her conservation training, Valeriia designs and paints original icons to commission, including the gilded plaster relief. Some of her works have been exhibited at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv and the Kyiv National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture. Through her passion for making art more accessible and inclusive, Valeriia has set up an icon painting course at the Sidur School of Contemporary Art & Design together with the Museum of Ukrainian Art, both in Dnipro, Ukraine, and is collaborating with various museum and design teams to make collections accessible to the blind and partially sighted. Valeriia is Katya’s partner in the UA-UK Cultural Heritage Initiative since 2014.

Ahneta Shashkova is a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust Apprentice at the Studio. She is a paintings and decorative arts conservator-restorer with a Masters in the Conservation and Restoration of Easel Paintings from the Kyiv National Academy of Fine Arts and Architecture in Ukraine. She is a current Phd student of the Academy with a thesis on the materials, techniques and art historical context of the twentieth century Ukrainian icon painter Ivan Yizhakevych. Ahneta is also a professionally trained Petrikivka painter: a traditional Ukrainian decorative painting style, which in 2012 was recognized by the Ministry of Culture of Ukraine as a part of the intangible cultural heritage of Ukraine, and is included in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Henry is Katya’s husband and has been involved in the development of the studio, focusing on the business administration, documentation and photography. He is an IT professional with over 10 years experience of technical implementation, project and cost management in the financial services and healthcare sectors and is a director at West One Technical Ltd. in Harley Street, London.

Sally Higgs graduated from the Courtauld Institute in 2015 and has worked at the National Portrait Gallery, London, since 2018, and as a freelance conservator undertaking treatments on art works for collections such as the Historic Royal Palaces and the Palace of Westminster. She is particularly interested in the conservation of Portrait Miniatures and received specialist training in the conservation of miniatures on vellum and ivory, and copper from Cecilia Rönnerstam, Stockholm National Museum. In 2014 Sally undertook extensive research into the history, context and materials and techniques of a rare 16th century Portrait of Cardinal de Granvelle oil on copper by Scipione Pulzone from the Courtauld Institute collection, which was presented at the Courtauld Spring-Summer research forum as part of the “works from the Courtauld Gallery project”. This was published in the “Paintings on copper and other metal plates : production, degradation and conservation issues” symposium postprints by the University of Valencia Press. Alongside her interest in old masters and miniatures, Sally has experience of treating modern and contemporary paintings and has taken part in the Cleaning of Acrylic Paintings (CAPS) workshop run by Dr. Bronwyn Ormsby, principal conservation scientist at Tate Gallery.

Nao Ikeda has studied and trained as a canvas and panel painting conservator at the Università internazionale dell’Arte in Florence, followed by an internship at Opificio delle Pietre Dure. Nao has been established in London for the past ten years providing her professional expertise for both public and private institutions in the UK, Italy and Japan, including the National Portrait Gallery, The National Trust, the Gold Smith Company, UNESCO Japan and the Government Art Collection. Nao was conservator for the ‘Rosano Cross’ restoration project, which was published as a book: La Croce Dipinta dell’abbazia di Rosano – Visibile e invisibile. Studio e restauro per la comprensione in 2007. As well as her training in old masters, Nao was employed by one of London’s leading modern and contemporary painting conservation studios. Nao is also an experienced frame conservator and restorer specializing in Italian frames and is able to carry out restoration of missing moulding and re-gilding of historic frames.