‘Frieze Framed’ – Seeing in Colour: a critical analysis of the Romanesque stone sculpture and polychromy on the west front of Lincoln Cathedral

PhD. Researcher: Cassie Booty

The primary chapter is concerned with the actual physical fabric of the sculpture, and the relationship, both general and specific, that exists between stone sculpture and polychromy. Whilst little extant evidence remains, such traces of polychromy that do exist testify to the importance of this practice during the period of its production.

Ramen spectroscopy is, perhaps, the most useful way to begin a technical study, which aims to identify pigments and characterise binding media. Although the technique requires the complete extraction of paint fragments, its advantages are that it is a highly specific and essentially non-destructive analytical technique. Because Raman spectroscopy has an excellent spatial resolution of about 1μm, accordingly, reproducible analysis of tiny particles can be achieved without the need for sample preparation.

Samples extracted for analysis using Raman spectroscopy were also embedded in resin to identify their layer stratigraphy. The mounted cross-sections were viewed at a range of magnifications, under simulated daylight and UV light, in order to reveal the layer structure, together with colour and thickness of each layer, topography of surface, pigment particle size and shape, opacity or transparency, and the dispersion of pigments in the binding medium. Such technique was also used to identify the structural and decorative development of the frieze, by cross-referencing of the paint strata.

It is hoped that application of such techniques to paint samples from the Romanesque frieze will improve insight into their chemistry, and achieve a better understanding, which would simultaneously aid the restorer, inform the historian, and give rise to philosophical and political debate. Such information as is gained will add to the comprehensive body of technical and historical knowledge regarding the fabrication, function, appearance and interpretation of original materials.

Research into Historic Woodgraining

PhD. Researcher: Saskia Paterson

An examination of the changes in styles of graining with reference to the appropriate historic period; involving a detailed examination of the methods and materials used, referencing published information where available and viewing existing examples of graining.

Involving the practical recreation of grained examples, using materials found using analysis of period examples and investigating the tools and methods that might have been used to create a particular style of graining.

Graining is the art of imitating wood grain using paints. There are examples of painted wood grain that exist from the 16th century to the present day. The purpose of graining may be to imitate a more expensive wood such as oak, where the substrate is a cheaper type of wood such as pine or deal, or to present a painted surface that is both attractive and durable and of a style which might have been in fashion at that time.

Graining has changed over time from quite simplistic and stylised graining to that which is intended to be practically indistinguishable from the real wood. My research will include looking at the prevailing fashions in the use of particular woods, the availability and trade of those woods and how that might relate to the fashion for simulating a particular type of wood grain.

A part of the research will be to gather all significant examples together as a resource for conservation and restoration projects.

Finally an examination of how modern materials can be used to recreate the same styles of graining as found in original materials.’

In the photos attached the Georgian oak graining shows a combed base with the silvergrain being painted on top.

In the Victorian oak graining the methods are quite different with the silvergrain being wiped out to show the colour beneath.

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