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date: 21 September 2019

Technical examinationlocked

  • M. S. Tite,
  • Raymond White,
  • Michael Duffett,
  • R. W. A. Dallas,
  • Graham Saxby
  •  and Marion Kite


Examination of a work of art by technical means; its aims are, first, to identify the raw materials used and, where appropriate, their geographic source or provenance; second, to investigate the techniques used in production; third, to establish the age and authenticity; and finally, to provide a full record of the surface appearance.

Clearly, the relative importance of these four aspects of technical examination, as well as the most appropriate scientific techniques to use, depends critically on the specific work of art under consideration, be it a building, a sculpture, a ceramic, a piece of decorative metalwork, a painting or a textile. Aspects of a work of art that are relevant in this context include its physical size, whether it is three-dimensional or two-dimensional and whether it is made predominantly from inorganic or organic material.

The first stage is to examine the work of art and provide a record of its surface appearance and macrostructure using entirely non-destructive methods (...

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