A wide range of materials are used to create artists¹s pigments, from minerals to organic dyes, from poisonous compounds to human remains. This talk will present a series of stories associated with the use of colour using examples from the Neolithic to the present which will demonstrate that colour is not the only driving factor in the choice of certain materials.
This talk is based on over a decade of research into artists¹ pigments using optical microscopy. Artists¹ pigments can be characterised and identified using microscopy on tiny samples. Observations made using the microscope are not only a proxy for the chemical composition of the materials but also provide information on their manufacture or provenance.
Photomicrographs, often beautiful in their own right, will be used to illustrate the materials described in this talk.
The video of this lecture can be viewed on YouTube.