X-Ray Fluorescence

Pigments

Analysis of the warrior’s flesh tones in the foreground of the painting revealed the presence of mercury, lead and iron. This suggests Maclise used the traditional and stable mixture of Lead white and Vermilion, a recipe employed since antiquity, to achieve the realistic and three dimensional qualities of his figures. 

X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction: An integrated system for X-ray fluorescence and X-ray diffraction was also used to investigate the components of the painting. Compact, portable XRD-XRF device is a prototype instrument that allows in-situ XRD measurements for the identification of crystalline solids on canvas paintings. The equipment allows XRF identification of the chemical elements present at exactly the same point as investigated by diffraction. The system is very light and represents the unique example in Europe of a device for in-situ X-ray diffraction measurements. Measurements and findings taken over the next few days will be updated regularly on this section of the website.