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Pigment identification on medieval manuscripts, paintings and artefacts by raman microscopy and other techniques


Research objectives and content
Raman spectroscopy is a highly specific technique which is
non-destructive, can be applied in situ, and is very sensitive to both the structure and composition of a sample. When integrated with a microscope it is possible to identify pigment grains of sub-micrometre dimensions free from interference by surrounding material. The combination of all these attributes makes possible the detailed pigment analysis of a broad range of artefacts, most importantly medieval manuscripts from which the sampling is prohibited The objective is to study a range of medieval European manuscripts borrowed from major libraries, galleries, museums, and auction houses for the purpose of (a) identifying the pigments by Raman microscopy, and thus establishing the range of the
palette for different periods of time and different geographical areas (b) authenticating manuscripts and manuscript dates via pigment identification (c) probing the degradation of pigments with time as a consequence of exposure to the
atmosphere, to oils, to resins, and other media
(d) linking. with major art restorers to ensure that the correct pigments are invariably used (e) expanding of the study to the use of other techniques such as infrared spectroscopy,
XPS, X-ray diffraction, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy
(f) expansion of the project to china, pottery and other artefacts, especially those from
archaeological digs.
Training content (objectives benefit and expected impact)
UCL has a highly developed postgraduate training programme within the Graduate School, which includes taught courses in all appropriate subjects, student seminars, poster sessions, report writing, communication training, and literature searching. Students are assessed orally by independent academics each academic year, and must produce an annual report Immense benefit will be derived from close contacts with the premier galleries, museums, etc, and with the highly developed research laboratories associated with each of these Students will thus be exposed to the cutting edge of research at the Arts/Science frontier Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
No direct links, the nature of the project is more to do with the preservation of our Cultural Heritage by knowledge of, and application of, the most appropriate techniques and procedures to the scientific study of any artefact.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Gordon Street 20 Christopher Ingold Labs.
WC1 0AJ London
United Kingdom

Participants (1)

Not available