PERCEIVE: Perceptive Enhanced Realities of Coloured collEctions through AI and Virtual Experiences

An international collaboration fostering the universal appreciation of coloured works of art

About the Project

PERCEIVE works on new ways to perceive, preserve, curate, exhibit, understand and access fragile, coloured cultural heritage. Using 5 scenarios, we focus on ‘care’, ‘accessibility’ and ‘authenticity’, promoting and expanding access to cultural heritage and its wider integration in society.


PERCEIVE intends to increase appreciation and understanding of coloured works of art, using improved scientific approaches to maximise our visitors’ experience. Working with 10 partners across collections, research institutes, universities and independent specialist groups, we are investigating 5 scenarios: lost colours in polychrome classical sculptures, fading in paintings, changing colours in textiles, changes in historical photos / digital art, Through these, PERCEIVE wants to advance the digital capability of scientists and cultural institutions for the benefit of visitors worldwide.


The V&A leads the Textiles and Photos scenarios. We are using advanced scientific techniques to investigate two faded textiles, two Elizabethan objects with tarnished metal embroideries, and selected degraded autochromes which show issues including spotting, tanning, greening and fading. Our analyses will characterise the original dyes, the composition of the metal threads, and the structure of the plates in order to understand the degradation pathways and reconstruct the objects’ original appearance.


Heritage science data and results will be more accessible to general and specialist audiences. We will contribute to the development of colour reconstruction and prediction methodologies. We will widen access to and understanding of our coloured collections, increasing audiences’ engagement, and providing more ‘authentic’ experiences. We will develop our audiences’ sense of care for coloured collections. The project will result in new tools and experiences for visitors, designers, art professionals and educators.

The Team

Lucia Burgio

Co-Lead for Scenarios 3 and 4

Dr Lucia Burgio is Lead Conservation Scientist at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, where she manages the V&A Science Lab, leading the analysis and technical examination of museum objects. She assists the Museum’s curators and conservators in th ... Read more

Catlin Langford

Co-Lead for Scenario 4

V&A Team

Maria Ecenarro Catrain
- Conservation Scientist, Collection Care and Access
Campbell Morgan
- Laboratory Coordinator, Collection Care and Access
Stephanie Jamieson
- Conservator (Books, Paper, Photographs), Collection Care and Access
Ioannis Vasallos
- Conservator (Books, Paper, Photographs), Collection Care and Access
Nora Brockmann
- Conservator (Textiles), Collection Care and Access
Elizabeth-Anne Haldane
- Lead Conservator (Textiles), Collection Care and Access
Frances Hartog
- Senior Conservator (Textiles), Collection Care and Access
Isobel Harcourt
- Conservator (Textiles), Collection Care and Access
Kira Zumkley
- Head of Photography and Digitisation, Collection Care and Access
Sarah Duncan
- Senior Photographer, Collection Care and Access
Lisa Springer
- International Programmes Curator, International Initiatives
Susan North
- Curator, Textile and Fashion
Richard Palmer
- Technical Lead, Digital Media and Publishing
Silvija Banić
- Curator, Textile and Fashion
Duncan Forbes
- Head of Photography
Martin Barnes
- Senior Curator, Photography
Hana Kaluznick
- Curator, Photography
Header image: Digital microscopy image of detail of T.52A-1954, photography Maria Ecenarro Catrain