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Scientific Research on Works of Art

Nature volume 134, pages 172173 (04 August 1934) | Download Citation



THE forthcoming academic year will witness an important new development at the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London. Since its inception, the Institute, which is under the directorship of Prof. W. G. Constable, has recognised the necessity for systematic and scientific research into the physical constitution of works of art: and a new Department and Laboratory of Scientific Research has now been brought into being at the Institute, at which such lines of investigation will be actively pursued. Such problems as the nature of the changes undergone by works of art on cleaning and renovation, and on exposure to atmospheric moisture and light, and the advantages of different methods of treating ‘disease's of works of art, will receive systematic investigation. So far, work in Great Britain has been carried out for the most part by private investigators, though various laboratories abroad, such as those at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, and at the Technical High School, Munich, have attacked the subject systematically. One of the main aims of the new Department will be the co-ordination of its results, with the view of publication, with these obtained in other centres, with which close relations will be cultivated. The head of the new Department and Laboratory is Dr. P. D. Ritchie, who will have the benefit of the knowledge and experience of a permanent advisory committee consisting of a number of prominent men of science and art experts. It is hoped that the Department will be in active operation by October, though no problems can be dealt with before that date.

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