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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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Internships in the Conservation of Easel paintings

Nov 05, 2019

Two internships available to begin in September 2020

Conservation students help deliver teacher enrichment

May 07, 2019

HKI students talked to teachers about how they reconstructed a 15th century painting as part of a successful CPD day.

HKI in film to promote interest in museum collections

Jan 29, 2019

Staff and students star in a short film made by the Colnaghi Foundation in collaboration with the Wallace Collection to give the public an insight into what lies behind museum collections.

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