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Science and Art: The Use of Analytical Chemistry at the National Gallery

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Dr David Peggie presents 'Science and Art: The Use of Analytical Chemistry'

This presentation will explore how analytical chemistry is used to gain a better understanding of the materials and techniques used by a diverse range of artists, from Botticelli to Van Gogh.

The Scientific Department at the National Gallery, London, has recently purchased a scanning X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) instrument which can produce 'elemental maps' of paintings in the collection. These maps, when combined with additional information obtained from analysis of micro samples, have proven extremely useful when studying how artists created their works and when undertaking conservation treatments.

The results from some recent projects will illustrate the importance of relating information from both invasive and non-invasive techniques while highlighting some surprising discoveries.


Dr Peggie is a senior scientist working at the National Gallery, London. He obtained a Masters degree (Chemistry) (2002) followed by a PhD (2006) at The University of Edinburgh for research into the identification of dyes on historical textiles (in collaboration with the National Museums of Scotland).

His main research interests include natural product analysis (oils, varnishes, dyestuffs) and the investigation of their deterioration mechanisms. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

AE.1.01 Stratford Campus

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