PAINTINGS CONSERVATION & RESTORATION
In addition to the digital, ultraviolet fluorescence, digital infrared and macro photography carried out by the studio, all other technical analysis is commissioned from outside specialists. Technical analysis can help determine the materials used by an artist in order to study the genesis of a work and painting technique. This informs both the restoration and conservation of a painting, and may help with attribution and dating.
Photomacrography taken down a stereo-binocular microscope is used to record information about the artist's materials and painting technique and to document inscriptions.
Photography taken under ultraviolet illumination is used to record information about the artist's use of medium, pigments and varnish, in addition to recording areas of retouching.
Digital infrared photography and transmitted infrared imaging are used as investigative tools in the studio. The former can give information about preparatory underdrawing and the genesis of the work, whilst the latter may give information regarding inscriptions and stamps on the reverse of a lined canvas.
High resolution multispectral scanning over a wider range of the electromagnetic spectrum can be undertaken by Art Analysis & Research. This is helpful in the study of underdrawing, provides information regarding the artist’s painting process, and may help with problems of attribution.
X-radiographs are helpful in revealing original changes which may have occurred during the development of the painting, in addition to revealing losses to the original. Study of X-radiographs can also give information about artists' technique and may help to solve problems of attribution. X-radiography on paintings in the studio is carried out by Art Analysis & Research or The Courtauld Institute of Art.
Dendrochronology can help to date a panel by analysing the pattern of tree rings within a plank to determine the calendar period during which the tree grew. Dendrochronology is carried out in the studio by Ian Tyers.
Cross sections and small samples for pigment and medium analysis can be taken in the studio to answer specific questions about materials and techniques. The information gained can also help to solve problems in dating paint layers and of attribution. The samples are examined, analysed and interpreted by Libby Sheldon: Painting Analysis & Research or by Art Analysis & Research.