Advertisement

NDE Applied to the Conservation of Wooden Panel Paintings

  • A. Murray
  • R. E. Green
  • M. F. Mecklenburg
  • C. M. Fortunko

Abstract

Various nondestructive methods for determining the condition of wooden panel paintings have been investigated. Methods are being developed to detect voids, hidden cracks, and fine fractures that are often a source of premature failure in such objects. Computer analysis shows that cracks in wood promote severe stress concentrations which are aggravated by the mechanical constraints imposed on the wood by the construction of a panel painting.1 The panel’s structural condition needs to be mapped in a nondestructive fashion in order to predict how these objects will mechanically respond over time or in different environments. Decisions can then be made as to whether an object can be safely removed from storage, if it can withstand conservation treatment, if it can be continuously displayed, or if it can be safely shipped to special exhibitions. We have demonstrated the NDE capabilities of different techniques by examining standard panels of white oak (Quercus sp.), tulip poplar, hard maple (Acer sp.), true mahogany (Swietenia sp.), black cherry, and western fir (Abies sp.). The panels contain voids between 0.15 and 0.6 cm in diameter and cracks smaller than 0.02 cm. The techniques for investigation included x-ray radiography, xeroradiography, and ultrasonics. Results show that both x-ray radiography and xeroradiography techniques can easily find voids at least as small as 0.15 cm. Xeroradiography has benefits over x-ray radiography because its edge enhancement property enables flaws to be displayed prominently. At certain angles, cracks less than 0.02 cm were easily seen. The results of using these two techniques on a panel painting are discussed. Ultrasound techniques using an all-air coupled system and a hybrid air-coupled/dry-coupled system have shown promising preliminary results for finding voids and cracks.

Keywords

Infrared Thermography Black Cherry High Density Wood Promising Preliminary Result Panel Painting 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Mecklenburg, M. F., private communication, current research work ongoing at the Conservation Analytical Laboratory, the Smithsonian Institution.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Van Schoute, R., and H. Verougstraete-Marcq, “Painting technique: Supports and frames” Journal of the European Study Group on Physical, Chemical and Mathematical Techniques Applied to Archaeology (PACT), edited by Van Schoute, R., and H. Verougstraete-Marcq, 13, 1986, p. 19.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mairinger, F., and M. Schreiner, “Analysis of supports, grounds and pigments,” PACT, 13, 1986, pp. 172–173.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cennini, C. d’A, Il Libro del l’Arte, Translated by D. V. Thompson, The Craftsman’s Handbook, Dover Pulications, (New York, 1960).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Samet, W. H., “An Evaluation of Wood Panel Painting Conservation at the Walters Art Gallery: 1934 to 1980,” The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) Preprints, 1988, pp. 161-175.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Buck, R. D., The Behaviour of Wood and the Treatment of Panel Paintings, The Upper Midwest Conservation Association (Minneapolis, 1978).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Panshin, A. J., and C. de Zeeuw, Textbook of Wood Technology, Volume 1, Third Edition, McGraw-Hill, (U. S. A., 1970).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rowell, R. M., and R. J. Barbour, Archaeological Wood Properties, Chemistry, and Preservation, Advances in Chemistry Series 225, American Chemical Society (ACS), (Washington D. C., 1990), p. 86.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Panshin and de Zeeuw, pp. 362-382.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gibson L. F. and M. F. Ashby, Cellular Solids Structure and Properties, Pergamon Press (New York, 1988), pp. 278–315.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Williams, D. C., and M. A. Williams, “Treatments for “dry” wooden objects,” paper given at the Symposium on Archaeological Wood: Properties, Chemistry, and Preservation, 196th ACS National Meeting, September 25-30, 1988.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Pellerin, R. F., and K. A. McDonald, Proceedings: Sixth Nondestructive Testing of Wood Symposium, September 14-16, 1987, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, Engineering Publications, and Conferences and Institutes, Washington State University.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Murray, A., “The Nondestructive Evaluation of Wooden Art Objects,” M. S. E. Thesis, 1990, The Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gilardoni, A., R. A. Orsini, and S. Taccani, X-Rays in Art, Gilardoni S. p. A., Mandello Lario (Como) (Italy, 1977).Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ellingson, W. A., P. D. Vandiver, T. K. Robinson, and J. J. Lobick, “Radiographic Imaging Technologies for Archaeological Ceramics,” Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings, 123, 25–32, 1988.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Magliano, P., B. Boesmi, “Xeroradiography for Paintings on Canvas and Wood,” Studies in Conservation, 33 (1988) pp.41–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Asmus, J. F., and S. T. Pomeroy, “Ultrasonic Mapping of Detachments in Mural Paintings by Vasari,” AIC Preprints, 1978, pp. 12-20.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Berra, M., L. Binda, G. Baronio, A. Fatticcioni, “Ultrasonic Pulse Transmission: A Proposal To Evaluate The Efficiency of Masonry Strengthening By Grouting,” 2nd International Conference on “Nondestructive Testing, microanalytical methods and environment evaluation for study and conservation of works of art, I/10.1-19.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Miura, S., “Ultrasonic Characteristic of Waterlogged-wood,” Science for Conservation, (5), 1976, pp. 14-18.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Miller, B. F., “The Feasibility of Using Thermography To Detect Subsurface Void in Painted Wooden Panels,” M. A. Thesis, 1976, Oberlin College.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Asperen de Boer, J. R. J. van, “Infrared Reflectography: A Method for the Examination of Paintings,” Applied Optics, VII, (9), September, 1968, pp. 1711–1714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Taguchi, E., I. Nagasawa, S. Yabuuchi, and M. Taguchi, “Investigation of a Wooden Sculpture Using X-ray Computed Tomography,” Scientific Papers on Japanese Antiques and Art Crafts, (29), 1984, pp. 43-50.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ten Wolde, A., McNatt, J. D., and L. Krahn, “Thermal Properties of Wood and Wood Panel Products for Use in Buildings,” Forest Produts Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin, Semptember 1988, pp.17–18.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Weast, R. C., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 63rd edition, CRC Press, Inc., (Boca Raton, Florida, 1982-1983), pp. E–5 and E-2.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Murray
    • 1
  • R. E. Green
    • 1
  • M. F. Mecklenburg
    • 2
  • C. M. Fortunko
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Center for Nondestructive EvaluationThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.The Smithsonian InstitutionThe Conservation Analytical LaboratoryUSA
  3. 3.National Institute of Standards and TechnologyBoulderUSA

Personalised recommendations