Prof Robin Clark - Raman Microscopy and the Identification of Forgery in Artwork

27 Oct 2014

SCI will be welcoming Prof Robin Clark to present a Public evening lecture on Raman Microscopy and the Identification of Forgery in Artwork on 19 November 2014.

Given the immense prices, often in excess of £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.

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.

The arts world has been slow to accept this need; however, it is increasingly likely that auction houses will be required to scientifically assess any works of art that they intend to offer for sale.

Prof Clark's 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 upcoming Public Evening Lecture. This talk forms part of SCI's Outreach Programme of Evening Lectures which are free and open to all.

About the speaker
Prof 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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