Tag: Conservation Science

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Introducing…The Leman Album

The Leman album, an enhanced facsimile, is one of the V&A Research Institute’s (VARI)first ‘named’ projects. Containing some 97 vibrantly coloured designs for woven silk by the second-generation Huguenot émigré, James Leman (b.1688), the designs were produced between 1706 and 1716.   They are the earliest known dated designs for woven silk and at some stage in their lifetime were […]

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A prayer book fit for a king

Figure 1. The Nativity by Jean Bourdichon (1499), E.949-2003 © Victoria and Albert Museum.

What would a medieval king’s prayer book look like? If you search the collections of the V&A you can find a manuscript page which was originally part of the Book of Hours of Louis XII, king of France between 1498 and 1515. This Book of Hours, a type of devotional prayer book popular in medieval […]

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Under the skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 4

Head and bust of the Spirit of Gaiety during its conservation treatment

  This series of blog entries is about the scientific examination of the gold finish of the Spirit of Gaiety, the angel which once graced the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London. Raman analysis Over the past few weeks I have been looking at the thick golden paint the covers the Spirit of Gaiety […]

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 3

Figure 1: The Spirit of Gaiety (S.2630-1996)

  This series of blog entries is about the scientific examination of the gold finish of the Spirit of Gaiety, the angel which once graced the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London.   Elemental analysis* In my last blog I showed you what the layer structure of the Spirit of Gaiety looks like under […]

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 2

Figure 1: Three paint samples from the Angel embedded in polyester resin and polished as cross sections.

  This series of blog entries is about the scientific examination of the gold finish of the Spirit of Gaiety, the angel which once graced the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London. Optical Microscopy A few days ago I outlined the reasons why we are investigating the gilding of the Gaiety Angel. Here is […]

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VARI Leman Album project goes micro and gets scattered

The Leman Album project has been receiving some important international guests in the form of the conservation science team of MOLAB — the Mobile Laboratory for in situ non-invasive measurements.  The Leman Album project team made a successful application to the Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure on Cultural Heritage, and the first of […]

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Under the Skin of the Spirit of Gaiety – Part 1

Figure 1 - The Spirit of Gaiety, Hibbert C. Binney, 1904. Museum no. S.2630-1996.

Many of you may have had a glimpse of the Spirit of Gaiety statue from the Painting Galleries (Figure 1): it is a very large, carved and gilded angel blowing a trumpet, originally designed for the dome of the Gaiety Theatre in London and erected there in 1904 (Figure 2). Although any visitor can view […]

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Identification of plastics by looking, touching and smelling

Example of groups of plastics made from melamine formaldehyde and cellulose nitrate

Carien van Aubel Conservation Science intern, University of Amsterdam   Collections with objects dating from the late-nineteenth-century onwards often include a variety of plastics. As there are numerous different types of plastics it would be hoped that specific identification would be stated in the records but it is not easy for those not experienced with […]

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The use of lasers in the conservation of museum objects made from plastics

The surface of polystyrene under the optical microscope exposed to different conditions

Dafni Daskalaki-Mountanou, MSc student Imperial College / V&A The predominance of polymers in everyday life is obvious. They have become an integral part not only of everyday objects but of cultural heritage objects as well. A survey held in the 1990s at the Victoria and Albert Museum showed that large numbers of artefacts were partly […]

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All that glitters is not gold – or is it?

Science meets Shoes. Go behind the scene and find out what we do to our objects before they can go on display. This is the tale of the two Lucias, Lucia the research assistant and Lucia the scientist: together we reveal aspects of our job related to the forthcoming exhibition “Shoes – Pleasure and Pain”. […]

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