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X-Ray

An X-ray can produce extensive information about the construction of paintings on canvas and on wooden panels. Knowing whether the wooden boards are held together by wooden dowels or metal pins can dictate the course of treatment involved to minimise risks of damage and maximise results. Much can also be learnt about the condition of the piece itself. X-ray can also provide a tantalising window into the picture’s past by revealing the secrets hidden in the layers of paint. Often modifications and later alterations can be seen that are no longer visible to the naked eye. This is equally useful for both conservators and art historians. We use traditional X-ray film, developed and then mosaiced together on-site.

The X-ray above shows the shape of a silver platter and face of a woman, both details that were later painted out. The X-ray absorbent paint in these details, probably lead white, makes these shapes evident in X-ray examination.

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Praise for Spike Bucklow's 'Red'

Feb 09, 2018

Spike Bucklow's "Red" was placed on the American Library Association's prestigious 'Choice List' of Outstanding Academic Publications, 2017. A review in the Burlington Magazine (CLIX, 2017, p. 737) said it was ‘written by a research scientist but with the flair of a biographer’

Artists before Columbus: new research on the Caribbean’s largest concentration of indigenous pre-Columbian rock art

Oct 30, 2017

Published by the Journal of Archaeological Science on 30 October, the paper reveals key discoveries such as the first direct rock art dates in the Caribbean, how pre-Columbian rock-art was made and their paint recipes.

Conservation Blog now available

Jun 22, 2017

Conservators at the Fitzwilliam Museum have started a blog.

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