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Workshops and Seminars

6 September 2007

These half-day workshops and seminars in the Fitzwilliam Museum were primarily for practicing conservators and those in related professions. Each workshop looked at a particular material or type of object, and considered aspects of technology, identification, deterioration and conservation. Relevant objects from the Fitzwilliam’s collection were available for detailed examination and discussion.

The seminars and workshops are listed below. Please click on the name of a seminar for more information.

Looking at Egyptian woods

Looking at Egyptian pigments

Looking at Egyptian 'bronzes'

Mummy portraits

The investigation and conservation of animal mummies

The technology of cartonnage mummy cases

Egyptian basketry: technology, deterioration and conservation

 


 

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Looking at Egyptian woods

Leader: Dr Caroline Cartwright, Wood Scientist, Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science, The British Museum

  • Introduction to the native and foreign woods used by the Egyptians, and some of their characteristic properties
  • Choices made by the craftsman of particular woods for particular purposes
  • Opportunity to examine a range of examples, many of which Caroline Cartwright has identified as part of the Fitzwilliam’s coffin catalogue project

 

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Looking at Egyptian pigments

Leader: Dr Spike Bucklow, Research Scientist, Hamilton Kerr Institute, Fitzwilliam Museum

  • Objects in the Fitzwilliam’s collections, and the pigment samples and paint cross-sections that have been taken from them, will be used to demonstrate and discuss painting techniques and characteristic features of the pigments in the Egyptian palette. Participants are also welcome to bring their own mounted samples and cross-sections for examination and discussion.
  • The seminar will focus principally on the techniques of light microscopy commonly available in the conservation laboratory, but there will also be an introduction to the types of instrumental analysis that are most useful in the characterisation of pigments and paint layers.

 

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Looking at Egyptian ‘bronzes’

Leaders: Fleur Shearman, Specialist Metals Conservator, Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science, The British Museum and Jo Dillon, Object Conservator, Department of Applied Arts, Fitzwilliam Museum

  • Introduction to the materials, manufacture and methods of surface decoration used in the creation of Egyptian 'bronze' sculpture.
  • Review of early restoration and conservation styles with particular reference to modification of surfaces of objects by chemical treatment and artificial patina.
  • Practical work will include examination of objects together with their documentation and radiographs to identify features of original technology and subsequent technical histories. Seminar participants will prepare condition check-lists for selected bronzes with the aim of sharing ideas on the reconstruction of original appearance and restoration history.
  • Basic introduction to some of the analytical techniques used to aid in the interpretation of Egyptian bronzes.

 

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Mummy portraits

Leader: Lucy Wrapson, Conservation Intern, Hamilton Kerr Institute, Fitzwilliam Museum

  • Materials and techniques of manufacture
  • Brief demonstration of encaustic painting
  • Approaches to technical examination
  • Deterioration problems
  • Early conservation practice
  • Conservation and mounting options
  • The seminar will be based around the four mummy portraits examined and conserved by Lucy Wrapson as part of the Fitzwilliam’s gallery refurbishment project. Originally, two of these had been treated in the field by Petrie.

 

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The investigation and conservation of animal mummies

Leader: Lucy Skinner, Archaeological Conservator: Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, The Museum of Natural Science and Archaeology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

  • Introduction to the technology of animal mummies
  • Examination techniques including x-radiography and CT scanning
  • Deterioration mechanisms
  • Conservation, mounting and storage
  • The seminar will be based around animal mummies treated by Lucy Skinner as Project Conservator for the Fitzwilliam’s gallery refurbishment project

 

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The technology of cartonnage mummy cases

Leaders: Dr. John Taylor, Assistant Keeper, Department of Ancient Egypt and Sudan, The British Museum and Annie Davey, Artist

  • Lecture on the technology of cartonnage mummy cases as currently understood and introduction to the research project being undertaken by the British Museum
  • Practical demonstration of the creation of a cartonnage mummy case
  • Opportunity to examine two Third Intermediate Period mummy cases in the Fitzwilliam’s collection with Christina Rozeik, the conservator who undertook the treatment of one of them in the recent gallery refurbishment project



 

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Egyptian basketry: technology, deterioration and conservation

Leader: Barbara Wills, Conservator of Organic Artefacts, Department of Conservation, Documentation and Science, The British Museum

  • Introduction to the range of basketry fibres, their properties and structure.
  • The technology of Egyptian basketry
  • Deterioration mechanisms
  • Conservation, mounting and storage, including demonstration of some practical techniques