Paintings and furniture
Investigating, modelling and preventing damage to works of art
Oriental lacquer and the Mazarin Chest
The Mazarin Chest is made from black-lacquered wood which is lavishly decorated with landscape scenes. The Chest was manufactured in Kyoto in about 1640 and is displayed in the V&A Museum. As a collaborator on the project to conserve the Chest, Imperial College London investigated how to remove degraded Western varnish from photo-degraded Japanese lacquer and the artificial ageing of lacquerware. Imperial also compared conservation treatments for photo-degraded Japanese lacquer, and considered the effect of consolidant choice on structural integrity.
- Examination of urushi-based conservation options for the treatment of photodegraded Japanese lacquer using scanning electron microscopy and profilometry.
- The chemistry of East Asian lacquer: A review of the scientific literature
Crack formation in wooden panel paintings
Imperial College London and the University of Glasgow received funding from EPSRC to research how cracks appear in artwork painted on wood. The research will develop methods for predicting the fatigue lifetime of panel paintings and related cultural heritage. It will therefore help collections to define strategies for efficient environmental control.
- A methodology for the use of alkyd paint in thermally aged easel painting reconstructions for mechanical testing
- Imperial engineers research crack formation in wooden paintings
- Reconstruction of historical temperature and relative humidity cycles within Knole House, Kent
- Recent advances and applications to cultural heritage using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and ATR-FTIR spectroscopic imaging
- Revealing the Nature and Distribution of Metal Carboxylates in Jackson Pollock’s Alchemy (1947) by Micro-Attenuated Total Reflection FT-IR Spectroscopic Imaging
- Macro-ATR-FT-IR spectroscopic imaging analysis of paint cross-sections
- ATR-FTIR imaging for the analysis of organic materials in paint cross sections: case studies on paint samples from the National Gallery, London
- Prediction of delamination in multilayer artist paints under low amplitude fatigue loading
- Cracking in paintings due to relative humidity cycles
Image credit: Nanke Schellmann, courtesy of the V&A