One of the showcases in Gallery 21 (the Greek and Roman gallery) is reserved for temporary displays that change two or three times a year. This allows us to show objects from our reserve collections that would not otherwise be seen, and also to discuss aspects of conservation, research and display in more depth. Below are some of the special displays that have been seen in Gallery 21 since it reopened in 2010.
Egyptian blue is thought to be the earliest synthetic pigment. It is, by far, the most common blue pigment found on objects in our Antiquities collections, with examples from the Egyptian and Greek and Roman worlds. Egyptian blue can appear green or black due to yellow varnish over the paint, chemical deterioration of the pigment or accumulated dirt in the paint medium or varnish. Visible-light Induced Luminescence (VIL) photography can help us distinguish clearly between these colours.