19 November 2014
SCI, London, UK
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It is increasingly likely that auction houses will be required to assess scientifically any works of art that they intend to offer for sale. One way of checking for obvious forgeries is to establish the palette - most effectively by Raman microscopy, an in situ light scattering technique which is highly sensitive, specific and rapid. This technique establishes whether any pigments of inappropriate dates of first manufacture or usage are present. Such analyses are extremely important, particularly given the immense prices - often over £1million - for which manuscripts (especially medieval ones), paintings, icons and other works of art can be sold. It is essential that conclusions on artwork as to date, school and artist, for example, be drawn not only on palaeographical, philological and stylistic grounds but also on scientific grounds. The arts world has been slow to accept this need.
The lecture will be illuminated by reference to much research published from UCL over the past decade or more, notably on papyri, medieval maps, postage stamps, and paintings originally supposed to be by Vermeer, Ingles, Goncharova and Chagall as well as on archaeological artefacts.
Join SCI for its Public Evening Lecture series which are free and open to all. This talk forms part of SCI's 2014/15 Outreach Programme of Evening Lectures.
Professor Robin Clark CNZM FRS is Sir William Ramsay Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at UCL. His major contributions to Raman and resonance Raman spectroscopy include pioneering the application of these and other techniques to the characterisation of pigments in artwork and archaeological artefacts, and the identification of forgeries. His many international awards include the inaugural Franklin-Lavoisier Prize of the Maison de la Chimie (Paris) and Chemical Heritage Foundation (Philadelphia). He has also served on the Councils of the Royal Society, Royal Institution (Secretary for six years) and UCL.
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