Kat’s Pics

Elephant-killers, symbolism and dazzling details. Bridgeman’s archive manager and all-round problem solver, Katrien ‘Kat’ Demoor, talks about her work and favourite images. 

What is your role at Bridgeman?

I am Bridgeman’s all-round problem solver! In practice this means I manage the office and the Library’s physical archives as well as working with its bourgeoning digital collection. In addition to this, I work with the Bridgeman Sales Team to support the flow of digital orders and queries. This includes checking the quality, colour and orientation of an image, whether it has been cropped, cleaned or restored. 

One of Bridgeman’s many strengths is that we are surrounded by the original transparencies. This means that if something is flagged up we can always cross-check it with its original. 

When did you join the team and what attracted you to work here?

I started working for Bridgeman 25 years ago after moving to London from Belgium. At the time what Bridgeman was doing was absolutely unique, so I jumped at the chance.

 

Bridgeman’s archive manager and all-round problem solver, Katrien ‘Kat’ Demoor.
Bridgeman’s archive manager and all-round problem solver, Katrien ‘Kat’ Demoor.

 

 

Scene from a Play [top, with Bridgeman's cut-out detail, below] (oil on canvas), French School, (16th century)
Scene from a Play [top, with Bridgeman's cut-out detail, below] (oil on canvas), French School, (16th century)

 

What do you love the most about the job?

The unexpected. I remember visiting museums for a client to check the quality and colour of their printer’s proofs against the paintings. We happily get on our bike to ensure we get it right.

 

 

What misconceptions do clients most commonly have about the archive?

That what is displayed on the website is all the Library has to offer. There is a wealth of material we can access behind the scenes. If you cannot find the image always ask our sales team. In some cases we are able to order, or even send a photographer to the museum, for you.
 

 

Can you give us a sneak peak of some of Bridgeman's technical wizardry?

Bridgeman’s in-house Technician (I call him ‘the Wizard’), can work to specific requests, ranging from scanning a detail at super-size for larger print jobs, to digital restoration. Here, we have cut out details for any use (left), and coloured previously-black and white images (below). This is only a fraction of the services we offer though!

George 'Beau' Brummell (1778-1849) 1805 [original, left; later Bridgeman colouration, right], by Robert Dighton (1752-1814) | Bill Sykes and his dog [original, left; later Bridgeman colouration, right] by Thomas Archer, c.1894

 

Kat's favouite pictures in the Bridgeman archive are...

 

 

 

1. The Symbolism of Spilliaert

The light on the beaches of Belgium can be very surprising. Here, Spilliaert captures the constant colour changes of sea and sand.

 

Woman at the Edge of the Water, 1910 (oil on canvas), by Leon Spilliaert (1881-1946) / Private Collection / Giraudon
Woman at the Edge of the Water, 1910 (oil on canvas), by Leon Spilliaert (1881-1946) / Private Collection / Giraudon

 

 

Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-42) (oil on panel), by Rembrandt (1606-69) / Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister, Germany
Portrait of Saskia van Uylenburgh (1612-42) (oil on panel), by Rembrandt (1606-69) / Gemaeldegalerie Alte Meister, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

2. Dutch and Flemish 17th century art

This portrait of Rembrandt’s first wife shows a lady of great wealth. Apparently, falling in love with the artist was below her status.

 

 

3. The weird and wonderful world of Jeroen Bosch

This artist continues to intrigue me. The everyday world he lived in must have been full of contradictions and beliefs but the scenes he painted do not disguise the cruel reality of the late-Middle Ages.  

 

From the Triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony (oil on panel) (detail), by Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516) (after)
From the Triptych of the Temptation of St. Anthony (oil on panel) (detail), by Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516) (after)

 

 

Self-Portrait on the Borderline between Mexico and the United States, 1932 (oil on metal), by Frida Kahlo,(1907-54)
Self-Portrait on the Borderline between Mexico and the United States, 1932 (oil on metal), by Frida Kahlo,(1907-54)

 

 

 

 

4. Frida Kahlo

Khalo has been quoted saying: ‘I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality’. Looking at this image, we can see the fusion of different cultures and beliefs.

 

 

 

5. Artefacts

I love tribal art and choose one of the many objects the library has on offer, this Native American shield caught my eye.

 

Shield, Cheyenne, c.1860 (mixed media), American School, (19th century) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA
Shield, Cheyenne, c.1860 (mixed media), American School, (19th century) / Detroit Institute of Arts, USA

 

 

Knights attacking elephants, from the 'Shrewsbury Talbot Book of Romances', c.1445 (vellum), French School, (15th century)
Knights attacking elephants, from the 'Shrewsbury Talbot Book of Romances', c.1445 (vellum), French School, (15th century)

 

 

 

6. Manuscripts

Elephants were scarce in 15th Century France. I guess if you have never seen an elephant before, this is as good as it gets!

 

Bridgeman's Research, Re-touching and Copyright Service

Need help with a project?  Contact our team of in-house experts who work with our collections to source the cultural and historical footage and stills that you need. Our archive is growing all the time so there is always something new to discover.
 


Back to top