Pigment Reference Collection

This is a collection of over 600 pigment materials which includes materials used in archaeological through contemporary art as well as applications in cosmetics and ceramics, which is made available to staff and students at UCL.

The collection is predominantly composed of dry, powdered pigments acquired from colourmen including Kremer Pigmente, Sennelier and Winsor & Newton as well as samples from archive collections and from archaeological and art historical contexts. It also includes examples of paints, pastels and other artists’ materials. Raw materials for pigment manufacture, such as minerals and other geological material, oak galls and madder root are also included. A substantial part of the collection has been donated by friends and colleagues.

The main application of this collection is as a comparative reference collection, intended for use when attempting to identify pigments used in archaeological materials and works of arts. As such it contains examples of pigments manufactured using modern industrial methods as well as ancient pigments and pigments made using traditional recipes.

This is not a static collection, it is intended to be used. Around half of the samples are available in relatively substantial amounts and permission may be given for aliquots can be used for paint tests or for chemical analysis, both destructive and non-destructive.  Understandably, some of the rarer or more valuable samples are only available in very small aliquots and cannot be used for destructive analysis.

The vast majority of the collection is mounted as dispersions on glass microscope slides. These can be used without further preparation for optical polarising light microscopy (PLM) and for analysis using Raman spectroscopy.

The collection is available to view either ordered by pigment name or in reference number order.

The collection is the personal property of Ruth Siddall. To use the collection please contact me via email.

Ruth Siddall

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