James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 3

This series of blog entries describes the scientific analysis of pigments and dyes used on the Leman Album designs.


As described in my previous instalment of the Leman analysis chronicle, the first MOLAB group came and went at the beginning of March 2017. Three weeks later, the second MOLAB group arrived from the National Institute of Optics (INO-CNR) in Florence, Italy, with their own portable scientific equipment, a multispectral imaging system.

Figure 1: Leman design E.1861:98-1991 being analysed with a multispectral imaging system. Photography by Lucia Burgio © Victoria and Albert Museum.

Figure 1: Leman design E.1861:98-1991 being analysed with a multispectral imaging system. Photography by Lucia Burgio © Victoria and Albert Museum.

Figure 2: Scientist Marco Barucci at the multispectral imaging equipment

Figure 2: Scientist Marco Barucci at the multispectral imaging equipment.

Multispectral imaging is a wonderful technique that uses visible and infrared light to reveal what may lie under the surface of an object.

 

It also provides information on the type of pigments and other materials which may have been used on the object. For example, when some of our Leman designs were investigated with this technique, we were able to see the pencil sketches under the colours and find out if Leman had changed his mind about his designs.

Figure 3: Leman design (left) and one of the corresponding multispectral images showing the pencil underdrawing (right). The latter shows that originally Leman intended a small dot to be present in the centre of the dark blue diamonds. Image by Rosarosa Manca © Victoria and Albert Museum.

Figure 3: Leman design (left) and one of the corresponding multispectral images showing the pencil underdrawing (right). The latter shows that originally Leman intended a small dot to be present in the centre of the dark blue diamonds. Image by Rosarosa Manca © Victoria and Albert Museum.

We could also spot areas that had been retouched at some point.

Figure 4: Leman design (left) and one of the corresponding multispectral images (right). The black arrow shows a change of shape of a detail; the white arrow points to a repainted area. Image by Rosarosa Manca © Victoria and Albert Museum.

Figure 4: Leman design (left) and one of the corresponding multispectral images (right). The black arrow shows a change of shape of a detail; the white arrow points to a repainted area. Image by Rosarosa Manca © Victoria and Albert Museum.

 

Three months later it was the turn of MOLAB 2, a group from the Centre for Research on the Conservation of Collections, Paris (known as the CRC). They came to the V&A with their hyperspectral imaging system and provided us with additional information about the materials and processes used to make the Leman designs.

Figure 5: CRC researcher Aurelié Tournié working on her hyperspectral imaging data.

Figure 5: CRC researcher Aurelié Tournié working on her hyperspectral imaging data.

Figure 6: CRC researchers Anne Michelin and Cristine Andraud positioning one of the Leman designs before the analysis.

Figure 6: CRC researchers Anne Michelin and Cristine Andraud positioning one of the Leman designs before the analysis.

One of the best features of hyperspectral imaging is its ability to highlight areas that contain the same material.

Figure 7: Leman design E.1861:73-1991 (left) and image created after hyperspectral imaging experiments (right) highlighting what areas have been painted with the same material.

Figure 7: Leman design E.1861:73-1991 (left) and image created after hyperspectral imaging experiments (right) highlighting what areas have been painted with the same material.

Figure 8: Other hyperspectral images of Leman design 73 emphasizing which areas have been painted with lead white (left) and where a dark ink has been used to outline some of the details (right, marked by red arrows).

Figure 8: Other hyperspectral images of Leman design 73 emphasizing which areas have been painted with lead white (left) and where a dark ink has been used to outline some of the details (right, marked by red arrows).

 

In my next blog I will show you more of the secrets revealed by the multispectral and hyperspectral images techniques.


Read other Leman blogs:

One thought on “James Leman’s glorious palette – Part 3

brawlstarshacked.com:

We took down to notice the game here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *