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History of Art

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Material Studies Research

Dangerous Diaries

William Morris reportedly employed arsenic-based pigments in his popular wallpapers, and artist Eva Hesse is said to have died as a result of her use of industrial materials such as polyester resins and latex rubbers. But to what extent do the joys and benefits of using these materials outweigh their potential hazards?


Gel Cleaning Systems

Works of art and artefacts are frequently subject to soiling and the accumulation of surface deposits during their lifetime. Handling, display and storage environments each impact on the surface nature of an object, and alterations in the underlying chemistry of the materials of construction, such as migration of additive materials in plastics, may also cause surface modifications that are distracting for the viewer...


Assessing the impact of LED lighting on pigments and paper in collections

Solid-State Lighting systems, most commonly known as Light Emitting Diodes (LED), are steadily finding application in an increasing number of museum and heritage institutions, providing energy efficient solutions for collection display. However, with LED lighting technology still in its infancy there can be large differences in properties between lighting systems, which may pose problem for collections management and display...


Cellulose Derivatives and their Environmental Response

Synthetic and semi-synthetic polymers comprise an increasing portion of cultural heritage and archival collections. The growth in polymer manufacturing and engineering that occurred throughout the twentieth century inevitably led to many artists and designers employing these new and relatively inexpensive materials in their works. However, the physical instability of some polymer formulations now pose particular problems for the heritage profession...


Aelbert Cuyp Research Project

The aim of this research project has been to investigate the materials and techniques employed in the making of paintings produced by Aelbert Cuyp.


Comparison of Painting Lining Methods for Historic House Environments

Canvas lined paintings comprise a significant proportion of the works of art found in historic house collections. However, due to tight restrictions that surround modifications to built heritage it is not possible to carefully control the environment of these paintings on open display...