Conservation and Restoration

Technical Art History Colloquium

The Making of Glass

18May2017 15:00 - 17:00


In the twelfth edition of the Technical Art History Colloquium, dr. Márcia Vilarigues (Conservation Department, Universidade Nova de Lisboa), dr. Jo Wheeler (Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London) and Matt Tyler (University of Glasgow and The National Gallery, London) will give papers about the making of glass.

From Words to Objects: The Art of Glassmaking Through Recipes

Dr. Márcia Vilarigues - Assistant Professor, Conservation Department, Universidade Nova de Lisboa

Vilarigues aims to create new knowledge based on the link between historic documentary information on glass production and the produced historical glass objects. Her research is fundamental for the discovery of new information and insights into the history and conservation of our material culture, impacting its preservation, interpretation and appreciation. Representative recipes of glass-based paints, such us grisailles, yellow silver staining, enamels and sanguine red, are being selected from treatises and recipe books dated from the 15th century to the 19th century and reproduced in the laboratory. These experiments allow the characterization of the paint materials with analytical techniques such as Optical Microscopy (MO), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Colorimetry. The results are being correlated with historical glass paints applied on stained-glass. The aim is to understand how historical written information represents the practices at the stained-glass workshops.

Revealing Trade Secrets: A New Source of Murano Glassmaking Recipes

Dr. Jo Wheeler - Director of International Development, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London

This paper presents a manuscript collection of recipes written in Murano in 1591 which has resurfaced in Florence. It examines the importance of these glassmaking secrets and firmly links them to a Murano family. Research has highlighted groups of recipes in common with the Montpellier manuscript (Zecchin, 1964) and the Darduin manuscript (Zecchin 1986) and throws light on recipes of Venetian origin in Antonio Neri’s L’Arte Vetraria (1612). These comparisons will be brought out through a focus on recipes for making chalcedony glass and rosechiero. The relationship of these recipes to actual practice and technical analysis will be raised.

A Protean Pigment: Smalt and the Craft Process

Matt Tyler, PhD candidate AHRC CDP Programme, The University of Glasgow and The National Gallery, London

Smalt can be problematic not just from a conservation perspective, but also an historical one. Its roots in the decorative arts, refinement as a manufactured pigment, and its handling characteristics – all of these are complex areas to explore, made more so by variable terminology and trade secrecy. Tyler’s research intends to answer questions about the origins and production of smalt, and its use by an artist, through a combination of documentary source evidence and scientific data. The findings related to 18th and 19th century manufacturing, as well as an ongoing investigation into 16th century glass-making, will be discussed in this paper.

TAH Colloquium

The Technical Art History Colloquium is organised by Sven Dupré (Utrecht University and University of Amsterdam, PI ERC ARTECHNE), Arjan de Koomen (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History), and Abbie Vandivere (University of Amsterdam, Coordinator MA Technical Art History & Paintings Conservator, Mauritshuis, The Hague). Monthly meetings take place on Thursdays, usually in Utrecht and Amsterdam.

The format of the colloquium is open, but there will always be substantial time for audience discussion.

Venue: University Theatre, room 1.01A

  • University Theatre

    Nieuwe Doelenstraat 16-18 | 1012 CP Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 2997

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Published by  Vossius Center