Tag: Conservation Science

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The cast of Michelangelo’s David, REPRO.1857-161, showing sampling locations

Exploratory surgery on the cast of Michelangelo’s David

Being Italian, I always felt secretly chuffed when I passed by the V&A Cast Courts and saw the plaster replica of Michelangelo’s David standing there: who better than him could watch over other reproductions of medieval and Renaissance masterpieces from the Bel Paese? Imagine then how thrilled I was when I was asked to perform […]

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The Darwin image under the XRF machine head. (c) Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Mini Post No. 9 – Sometimes we get things wrong!

Let me begin with a little confession – while we like to think of ourselves as immune to them, sometimes we make silly mistakes. This happened most recently when we began the XRF analysis of some Julia Margaret Cameron photographs to see if the images had been tinted with other elements like gold. Many of […]

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One of the 1st Laptops used in the conservation science section of the museum - A Toshiba t1600

Mini Post No.8 – Ghosts of Logos past

As part of my internship I have been repeating and expanding on some of the experiments into cleaning that they did during the POPART project. One part has been repeating experiments on real-world objects that have a surface texture – more on that in a later post though! The unusual object I’ve been using to […]

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So what are you doing with a science degree in a design museum…

At the very beginning of my internship I posted (in rather mushy way) about the FTIR machine that we have here in the lab. We have quite a good setup here and over the past number of months I’ve been trying to take every advantage I can to use it. FTIR stands for Fourier Transform […]

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The current setup for a long duration time lapse. Its hoped that we might gain some insight into the decay rate by recording the progress over the next 6 months or so.

Mini Post No. 7 – Using a Raspberry Pi to watch a handbag decay

So a while back I posted an image of one of the plastic handbags we have here in the Conservation Science Dept. We use these non-museum objects as sacrificial lambs in the aid of heritage science. We have a second handbag that has started to dramatically decay. As we will use any excuse here in the […]

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Analysing Chinese Export Paintings

The V&A’s Conservation Science department has been working on a collection of Chinese export paintings, looking closely at the materials that the artists used and trying to uncover the secrets of an important part of the history of Britain in China. Sonia Bellesia, former intern in the Conservation Science section explains more… Originally sold as souvenirs to Western merchants […]

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Mini Post No. 5 – Storing the samples we analyse

We collect a lot of samples during the year and these days we store them in little plastic resealable bags or if they are really small we put them in clear gelatin capsules… But back in the days before plastic (and in an era where more people smoked!) we used matchstick boxes.  

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Kaleidoscope House – A dolls house for the ‘child’ interested in modernist architecture

One of the nicer elements of my job is the exposure to the wonderfully diverse collection that we have here at the V&A. Later in the year the Museum of Childhood is putting together a wonderful exhibition on Dolls houses. We (my supervisor and I) were asked to consult on one of the more unusual […]

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Mini Post No. 4 – How we prepare samples

The nice people over that the Getty Conservation Institute have just released their new newsletter for Spring 2014. It deals with all things plastic and has a great article on the research they carried out on animation cels from old Disney films. You can find a pdf of the newsletter here. In other news… The science conservation department […]

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Mini Post No.3 – Sometimes we even get to have fun at work…

We had to cool the FTIR machine down to do some analysis… I’ve used liquid nitrogen before, but this never gets old!! In a later post ill speak a little on why we use FTIR so much and how we integrate it into our workflow, but for now, enjoy the video.

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