Technical analysis

Grimwade Conservation Services provides a scientific analysis service for analysing cultural heritage objects or works of art.

At Grimwade Conservation Services we have access to fundamental non-invasive examination and various advanced instrumentation techniques. The collection of data and subsequent interpretation of results (we collaborate with scientific researchers at the University of Melbourne and other professional experts), provide information about the physical composition of an object, nature and the extent of deterioration of the object or associated intervention materials. This information assists art historical research, cultural heritage material science research, and selection of appropriate conservation treatment methodologies.

Standard laboratory techniques

  • Micro-chemical spot testing of metals, inorganics and organics
  • Sample preparation of embedded cross sections, thin section and dispersions
  • Optical microscopy (reflected light, transmitted light and PLM modes) with image capture

Non-invasive examination techniques

  • Photographic examination (standard and microscopic)
  • Ultraviolet (UV) examination, both fluorescence and reflected (with image capture)
  • Infra-red (IR) examination and infrared false colour (with image capture)
  • X-radiography (with image capture)
  • Reflectance transformation imaging (RTI)
  • 3D photogrammetry
  • Colourimetry and gloss measurement

Advanced instrumentation techniques

  • Gas chromatography with mass spectroscopy (GC-MS)
  • Scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS)
  • Fourier transform infra-red spectroscopy (FTIR)
  • X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF)
  • X-ray powder diffraction (XRD)

Attribution assessments

The attribution assessment methodology seeks to establish anomalies whereby known and verifiable characteristics of the artist’s oeuvre (as determined by reference to securely provenanced works) can be used to assess the match with characteristics in the work presented for authentication.

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