Mary Greenacre obituary


My pal Mary Greenacre, who has died aged 77, was an archaeological and museum conservator of distinction, possessing an innate empathy with fragile and treasured objects.

Mary specialised in ceramics, and got here to grasp prehistoric pottery, 18th-century terracotta sculpture and Delftware. She turned conservator on the South West Space Museum Service in Bristol in 1969, the place she met Francis Greenacre, curator of effective artwork on the Metropolis Artwork Gallery. They married inside six months and have become the vigorous hosts of many gatherings. Her studio within the Metropolis Artwork Gallery turned a place of business, friendship and laughter, with music and Take a look at Match Particular on the radio. Nevertheless, she by no means forgave the Bristol professor who, standing by her workbench, stubbed out his cigarette on the Delftware apothecary’s slab that she had simply conserved.

All through her profession Mary mentored younger folks, turning into a committee member, and later chair, of the UK Institute for Conservation of Historic and Inventive Works, serving to to advance its codes of ethics and coaching, whereas latterly she taught conservation ethics and strategies at Metropolis and Guilds Basis in London (2011-17).

Born Mary Dyk in New Orleans, she was the youngest of the three kids, and solely daughter, of Marirose (nee Donahue) and Robert Dyk, the geophysicist managing director of Hamilton Brothers, the corporate that first introduced North Sea oil ashore to Britain in 1975. His profession took the household to 1 US metropolis after one other, earlier than culminating in Brussels and London. A lot of Mary’s high-school schooling passed off in Los Angeles at Pacific Palisades highschool, and her love of horses developed in Colorado.

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Mary Greenacre conserving the bronze head of the goddess Minerva from Bathtub at Bristol Museum and Artwork Gallery, 1978. {Photograph}: © Graham Harrison

Having studied anthropology and archaeology on the College of Brussels, and archaeological conservation on the Institute of Archaeology in London, Mary turned an intern on the Museum of London. There, in 1965, she took half in getting ready for burial in Westminster Abbey the rediscovered stays of Anne de Mowbray, the kid bride of Richard, Duke of York, one of many Princes within the Tower. She recalled curling the neat ringlets of hair that remained on the cranium of the eight-year-old, who had died in 1481.

When her third baby, Jemima, was born in 1983, Mary resigned from the Space Museum Service, however discovered time to turn out to be a council member of the St Monica Belief care houses, and Bristol Zoological Society, and a member of Bristol Cathedral’s material advisory committee.

She returned to full-time employment in 1993, because the regional conservator for the Nationwide Belief South West area. Inside her new temporary had been the belief properties at Dyrham Park, Lytes Cary and Stourhead, in addition to Tyntesfield, purchased by the NT in 2002.

She turned centrally concerned with the preparation of this nice home, advocating fast opening as soon as preliminary preventive conservation was full. This raised public curiosity, with many guests returning usually to see its evolution. Tyntesfield may not have progressed with the sense of urgency and a spotlight to element required with out Mary’s fixed presence, persistence and objective.

Mary is survived by Francis, their kids, Ben, Edward and Jemima, six grandchildren and her brother Jim.


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