Conservation Analysis 

The Gallery collaborated with the University of Perugia, Italy, and the Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de France, Louvre Museum, Paris, under the European-funded MObile LABoratory (MOLAB) access programme within CHARISMA (Cultural Heritage Advanced Research Infrastructures: Synergy for a Multidisciplinary Approach to Conservation). MOLAB is a service that provides portable, non-destructive equipment for scientists and conservators to carry out in-situ analysis of artworks across Europe.

In July and October 2011 the MOLAB research team visited the Gallery with mobile analytical equipment to investigate the pigments and media used by Maclise. The data collected will provide valuable information on the structure and composition of the pigments used by Maclise.  This information is vital when planning conservation treatments as it allows an understanding of the materials and techniques used by the artist.

Analysis for pigment identification

X-Ray Fluorescence

XRF analysis was used to identify the presence of certain elements found in the materials Maclise used. Sample areas in the painting were bombarded with tiny beams of x-ray radiation which resulted in a measurable fluorescence enabling the identification of elements and as a consequence, of various pigments. Find out more...

Conservation Analysis with MOLAB

Fibre-optic mid and near FT-IR

FTIR analysis was used to identify the types of binding medium present in Maclise’s paint layers. Infrared radiation was streamed at sample areas and the reflected spectrum was measured to identify types of intermolecular bonds in the materials. Drying oils used in paintings have a characteristic type of bonding that can be identified from FTIR spectra. Analysis confirmed Maclise used oil as his binding media; linseed, poppy and nut oils were typically used  by nineteenth century artists. Find out more...  

UV-Vis absorption and steady-state fluorescence

UV-Vis absorption and steady-state fluorescence

These are two complementary types of analysis. UV-Vis absorption identifies organic compounds which absorb light in the UV or visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Steady-state fluorescence classifies any metal ions which are present in a pigment.  Where there is an uncertain identification for a pigment after XRF analysis, this method can clarify the results. Find out more...

Ultra-violet analysis

Technical Survey

Read about the methods used to perform a technical survey of The Marriage of Strongbow and Aoife, including  using ultraviolet light, cross-sectioning and infrared light. Find out more...