V. Voices from the Field: Technical Art History Today

Here at Materia we are always interested in encouraging discussion and debate on the topic of technical art history as an academic field. As recent contributions to our journal have shown,1 there remains much scope for dialogue surrounding issues such as how we define the discipline, as well as how it fits within the context of art historical inquiry more broadly. With this aim in mind, the editorial team at Materia has decided to launch an article series entitled Voices from the Field, where we invite contributors from different scholarly backgrounds to reflect on the field of technical art history today.

For this premier edition of our article series we asked a group of six academics and practicing conservators to answer questions relating to the definition and methodological frameworks of technical art history. In addition, the contributors also offer examples from their own professional experience, where they have seen technical study successfully integrated as a method of academic inquiry. We hope that our readers find the perspectives and discussions presented here both interesting and informative to their own work as either researchers or conservation practitioners. We also welcome personal reflections and comments from our readership, and encourage anyone to write to us at: mailto:info@materiajournal.com


Gerry Alabone

Gerry Alabone is Senior Conservator (furniture & frames) with the National Trust. After studying fine art (painting) at Bath, he was employed in the bespoke frame making trade and public galleries before studying conservation (wood & metals) at London Guildhall University. He was Lead Frames Conservator at the City of London’s Guildhall Art Gallery, Head of Frames Conservation at Tate, and Chair of ICON’s Gilding & Decorative Surfaces Group. Gerry is also a frames and wood conservation lecturer on the graduate programme at the City & Guilds of London Art School. His research concentrates on how we understand, manage, and communicate interrelations between settings, frames and paintings. In 2016 he convened the first international conference on the auricular style, Auricular Style: Frames, at the Wallace Collection. His current history of art MRes at the University of Birmingham is Leatherwork: English carved and gilded oak picture frames.

Dr. Nicholas Eastaugh

Dr. Nicholas Eastaugh originally trained as a physicist before going on to study conservation and art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, where he completed a PhD in scientific analysis and documentary research of historical pigments in 1988. Since 1989 he has been a consultant in the scientific and art technological study of paint and paintings. A frequent lecturer, he was an Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Oxford 2003-2017. In 1999 he co-founded the Pigmentum Project, an interdisciplinary research group developing comprehensive high-quality documentary and analytical data on historical pigments and other artists’ materials. This led to the publication of the Pigment Compendium in 2004, which quickly became a standard reference text in the field. Dr Eastaugh founded Art Analysis & Research in 2009. He recently left to start a new venture, Dr Nicholas Eastaugh Associates Ltd. His current interests lie at the intersection of material art and art history, and the application of new technologies to these.

Kendall Francis

Kendall Francis is currently a Painting Conservation Intern at the J. Paul Getty Museum and was previously a Conservation Fellow at the National Gallery, London. She received a PGDIP in easel painting conservation from The Courtauld Institute of Art and has completed internships in museums and private studios across the UK and Europe. Kendall completed her postgraduate thesis on the materials and techniques of Willem Van de Velde the Younger with the National Maritime Museum, London, and her research also includes technical studies into Anthony van Dyck and Joaquín Sorolla. Kendall is currently undertaking a long-term personal research project looking into the legacies of colonialism, slavery, and exploitation in artists’ materials. Kendall is also enthusiastic about advancing accessibility, diversity, and inclusion in art heritage for disadvantaged young people and Black & Ethnic minorities. She has recently published an article on the absence of Black and Ethnic Minority representation in UK heritage conservation and she additionally participates in heritage D&I committees, including conservation engagement and outreach initiatives.

Anisha Gupta

Anisha Gupta is a paper and preventive conservator. After holding positions at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum, she returned to graduate school to pursue her PhD in Preservation Studies at the University of Delaware. Her research is focused on examining legacies of colonialism in conservation, particularly their effect on preservation value systems. She will be looking specifically at how preservation value systems from different cultures can be incorporated into conservation practice.

Prof. Ann-Sophie Lehmann

Prof. Ann-Sophie Lehmann holds the chair of art history and material culture at the University of Groningen. Her research develops a process-based approach to art and visual material culture, focusing on materials and tools as part of creative processes, the mediatization of making, and material literacy. From 2020-2025 she leads the research project Curious Hands. Moving Making to the Core of Education funded by the Dutch Research Council. Lehmann is editor-in-chief of the series Studies in Art and Materiality (Brill) and member of the editorial boards of the Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art and Zeitschrift fur Kunstgeschichte. She co-curated the exhibitions Object Lessons. The Story of Material Education in 8 Chapters (Museum der Dinge, Berlin / Kunstgewerbemuseum Winterthur 2016-2017), Well-Made. Ode to the Process of Production (Kunsthal, Amerfoort 2017) and The Story of My Life. Object-Biography as Concept, Method and Genre (Museum der Dinge, Berlin, 2023).

Catherine Nunn

Catherine Nunn is an independent painting conservator in Australia and she is also completing a PhD in Conservation and Art History at the University of Melbourne. Her doctoral research focuses on materiality and Australian artists in France in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She has published in conservation journals and exhibition catalogues, and lectured for the Masters program at the Grimwade Centre, University of Melbourne. Previously, she worked as a painting conservator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Auckland Art Gallery and in private conservation studios in London on Old Master paintings. Originally trained in conservation at the University of Canberra (1998), she also completed an advanced internship at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, University of Cambridge (2003-2005), and a MA (by research, Melbourne, 2011).


Q1: How would you define technical art history? What is its relationship with art history more broadly?

Gerry: Conservators and conservation scientists understand objects by examining their physical materials, construction, and changes over time. They use a mix of practical, technical, and scholarly approaches. ‘Technical’ in this sense normally refers to applied science, however, it is also commonly used for practical, or material knowledge not based on applied science.

Art and history are terms which (art historian) academics have been identifying less with for several decades. An emphasis on the ‘subject’ has coincided with a reduced value for understanding the object and the archive. Additionally, ‘material’ is often used as a social rather than a physical term.

Nevertheless, collaboration on the common interests and varied approaches of these complementary disciplines, to produce new meanings and interpretations, is of greater benefit than defining differences between them.

Nicholas: Broadly speaking, I would define technical art history as the study of cultural heritage from the perspective of the materiality of its objects, with particular emphasis on their physical form and composition, and the broader historical contextualization of that knowledge.

With regards to its relationship with art history, I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of “materiality” recently (as part of another project). From this I see technical art history as a subdomain of art history, one that is most closely allied with various other movements concerned with the haptic rather than the optic, notably but not exclusively things like the anthropology of visual culture. These movements are those that, as art historian Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer has put it, express “the idea of materiality as a legitimate component of art historical methodologies, whose expansive, transcultural, interdisciplinary, and diachronic valence extended from mere investigation of the material constitution of an artifact to the more complex quest for its meaning as an “embodied object” in reciprocal phenomenological dialogue with its historical setting, functions, and makers-observers.”2 As quoting this suggests, for me technical art history as we conceive it is not very different conceptually to some other recent movements in art historical thought, though specific methods and approaches vary.

It’s been clear looking at the questions posed here that although (to a significant extent) technical art history has grown out of conservation, and many of its practitioners have backgrounds in conservation and conservation science, I do not believe that it is part of conservation, and we could alternatively consider that technical art history has been as much defined by the social grouping from which it evolved (which is probably a trivial conclusion to be honest) as the actual practices undertaken. Much has also been made of the inter-, multi-, and/or trans-disciplinarity of the field, and how it draws together a wide variety of different domains. This to my mind only adds to the view that much of technical art history practice is socially constructed rather than necessarily philosophically coherent, with an accretion of methods and approaches derived from individually perceived need rather than any overarching intellectual framework. Under this conception, the boundaries of technical art history are somewhat arbitrary; a definition of the field would then be along the lines of “whatever its practitioners choose to research, discuss and publish.” In this sense, I do not necessarily subscribe to the view sometimes expressed that it is all either art history or science, which I think is over-simplistic and not especially helpful for further understanding.

At the same time there are clearly a number of relatively stable core themes and practices that can be identified as part of the disciplinary matrix, ones that do characterize the technical art history field (that is, the boundaries may be diffuse, but there is a core most would probably agree on). These I do not really need to list, but perhaps the extensive use of so-called “hard” analytical chemistry (rather than, say, social science in anthropological materiality) is notable, though again, how does this distinguish technical art history from something like archaeology and archaeometry? Art technology source research is another area, but it clearly overlaps with various mainstream art historical practices and concerns.

Kendall: Our cultural heritage objects are made with contributions from various artisans or individuals and are created from a vast number of materials. These people and resources can tell us about the artist’s choices, techniques, and methods but they also shape and reflect larger social, political, and economic forces. A person and their palette not only participate in the production of meaning and the construction of identities but are invaluable in our understanding of changing societies and cultures, botany and chemistry, the expansion of global powers and industry, and the scope of communication, migration, and trade. This is the meaning of technical art history. It is the ability to investigate artworks holistically through the interdisciplinary combination of conservation, art history and science, while additionally, incorporating human history, philosophy, and anthropology to discover unique concepts and connections.

We can find ourselves transported into an artist’s workshop, a fly on the wall, watching the apprentice grind his master’s red lake pigment while the maestro is changing his mind about composition. We can then be guided to the colourman extracting this pigment from the scrap pieces of red cloth, dyed with cochineal by a professional dyer. Meanwhile, we now find ourselves on the cacti “fields” as enslaved Indigenous and West African peoples harvest these beetles to profit a rapacious colonial power or individual. Eventually, we encounter the centuries of Indigenous people’s skill, craft, and devotion to this material, finally connecting this back to the painting as we see it now, analysing how the colour has degraded or faded over time and how this may have changed the object’s intended perception.

It is all this knowledge discovered by a diverse approach to research and investigation, in addition to the cross-examination and linking of information, which can truly lead to wonderful, unique, and exciting approaches to the appreciation of artworks that previously would never have been accepted in the traditional, conservative, and honestly stuffy world of art history.

Anisha: I would define technical art history as art history that uses technical evidence, research, and analysis to better understand an artist, artwork, or style of art. I think of it as being similar to art history in its goals but uses technical analysis along with more traditional art history methods.

Ann-Sophie: Ideally, art history should not need the adjective “technical” in order to include the technical analysis of art works or anything to do with the materials and making of art in general. The terms artifact and artwork say as much: they combine the skillful ability to make something (art/ars) with the words “fact” (factum/facere) and “work,” which both emphasize the “madeness” and the time and effort that went into the resulting object, whichever form it takes. Therefore, art is a technical thing by definition and the history of art naturally includes the history of materials and making, to be researched not only by visual analysis, reading, and writing but also using sense-based and art-based methods, such as handling, drawing, or reconstructing.

Catherine: Technical art history uses the physical artwork as the entry point for enquiry and, in combination with archival and historical sources, aims to uncover histories, meanings, and relationships through interrogation of the artwork’s materiality. Technical art history begins with the study of the physical components of an artwork, but takes this further to explore the meanings revealed by the physical understanding of an artist’s choice of materials, gestures, and alterations. I see the relationship of technical art history to traditional art history as a complementary one. Technical art history can elevate narratives that may go unseen in traditional art history by decoding the relationships between materials and the tangible and intangible dimensions of an artwork.

Q2: Can you offer some reflections on the discipline in terms of its epistemological, methodological and/or art theoretical frame of reference?

Gerry: Conservator and theorist Professor Salvador Muñoz-Viñas (Polytechnic University of Valencia) recently gave an unrecorded online talk in which he stated the first aspect of the scientific paradigm is “Objectivity. The object is important – the subject should be put to one side.”3 He contended that conservators’ knowledge is not scientific because:

  1. It is not based on repeatable experiments.

  2. It is based on non-measurable factors.

  3. It is based on subjective assessments of material and immaterial factors.

  4. The conservator has a direct influence on the result of the experiment.

Nevertheless, he concluded that conservation is a blend of the scientific and material. Therefore, if conservators are not rightly scientists – and neither are rightly art historians – and art historians often prefer another name for themselves – then perhaps having more names for art history will not itself bring together these activities – without a greater collaboration between them on mutually beneficial projects and research.

Nicholas: This is a very broad question, so for the sake of brevity I will simply reflect on some areas of research on this topic that have been of interest to me.

Firstly, I think it is important to underline that the kinds of science we are often dealing with in technical art history are those suited to examining historical questions rather than, say, a “hard” science like quantum mechanics. Some of the principles commonly cited as evidence of ‘science’ being done, such as repeatable experiments, aren’t relevant because we can’t go back in time to re-run the renaissance or whatever. However, that does not mean we are not doing good science, it is just that it is more like paleontology or archaeometry than high-energy physics. There are consequences to this, such as how we evaluate and interpret uncertain and incomplete information about the past. Further, the integration of scientific studies with more traditional art historical data needs greater coherence, including methodological concerns such as how research questions are defined and arguments developed that more fully reflect both appropriate scientific and historical approaches. A simple example: the field of technical art history has historically considered questions of authenticity and authorship. As such, I see it frequently claimed that “science” only allows us to falsify things - I have long argued that this is an ill-conceived and philosophically debatable standpoint and that we are better served by other kinds of thinking4.

There also needs to be a fuller appreciation of the necessity for data collected to have a contextualized meaning - I quite often encounter situations where, say, materials analysis has been conducted and specific things identified, but substantive interpretation to provide knowledge and understanding to answer questions is weak or lacking. At the same time, there could also be better sharing of underlying data. There is a tendency to publish findings with an interpretation, but that can make consolidating data across different studies more difficult (I’m thinking of situations where one might want to make a longitudinal study form essentially lateral data sets, like developing material chronologies from studies of individual artists).

Kendall: Technical art history has only started to thrive as a field of study in the last few decades, and therefore its aims, methodology, and scope are still progressively developing, which is exciting! As technical art history encompasses multidisciplinary aspects of learning and understanding, one of the limitations that arise from the epistemology of technical art history is the broad scope of the study. The very comprehensive methodology can, as previously mentioned, bring about novel research, however, it requires ample knowledge on a wide range of topics and the ability to recognise stimulating new connections and discoveries using technical analysis techniques. Therefore, the field promotes and requires collaborative study and interpretation (how many conservators, art historians, and scientists already work), readily accessible and open access research (like the Materia journal), and support from all academics, conservators, and scientists. We should all feel excited about the unique possibilities that technical art history will bring to our field, along with the new graduating cohorts of technical art historians.

Anisha: I’ve always thought of technical art history as having evolved from art history and incorporating conservation science methodology. It seems like other fields could fit that bill, though, and I’m not entirely sure about the difference between conservation, conservation science, technical art history, and material culture studies. In particular, what is the difference between the last two fields? They seem to have similar aims and the same groups of professionals (conservators, scientists, and historians) are part of the field. Given their names, does technical art history attract art-centered projects, while material culture studies is focused on historical objects? I reflect on this to consider whether some of our language is creating unnecessary divisions from even more interdisciplinarity.

Ann-Sophie: Speaking from a historiographical perspective, “technical art history” is a pleonasm, as one of the founding fathers of the discipline, Gottfried Semper, pointed out in a footnote to the introduction of his Stil (1860/63); a book that was written in order to provide a practice-theory for artists, technicians, and amateurs alike. Art, Semper stated, was technological because art is made by humans. Giorgio Vasari had thought along the same lines when he called the introduction to Lives of the artists his “art theory,” written in order to introduce professionals and amateurs to the various domains of art making, from drawings to buildings.

Semper and Vasari, it seems, were convinced that practice and theory, technology and history were two sides of the same coin, maybe because they themselves embodied both of these sides. Such universalism is not necessarily a common phenomenon in the discipline and art history has been adamant to separate its field into one part concerned with aesthetics, interpretation, perception, reception etc. of art and another part concerned with the making, conserving, and restoring of art works. That this divide can be unproductive if not made explicit has been critically noted in regular intervals by influential scholars who have thought about the making of works of art. For instance George Kubler, who remarked in The Shape of Time “[…] the history of science is concerned with things only as technical products, while art history has been reduced to a discussion of the meanings of things without much attention to their technical and formal organization.”5 Jules David Prown writes eighteen years later that “material is a word we associate with base and pragmatic things; culture is a word we associate with lofty, intellectual, abstract things […] Among scholars of material culture, there is a real division between those who are primarily interested in material and those who are primarily interested in culture.”6 At the end of the twentieth century, Joseph Leo Koerner repeated the observation in an essay about ‘factura’, a term that connects making and meaning: “art historians today tend to be divided between those who study what objects mean and those who study how objects are made.” And in 2018 not much seems to have changed as an article co-written by an art historian and a conservator concludes: “Restoration science and art history both encompass the interaction with objects of material culture such as artifacts, artworks, and buildings […] However, a certain distance between the disciplines remains […] and the potential inherent to interdisciplinary cooperation or intensive specialized exchange goes untapped—to everyone’s disadvantage”.7 Maybe stating the divide is a productive element of an art history invested in materials and making.

Also within what came to be defined as technical art history in the late 1990s, the necessity to work against a too narrow focus on technical analysis is emphasized. In a defining piece, Erma Hermens wrote in 2012: “At its least imaginative, technical art history becomes a taxonomic act of deconstruction: a material text analyzed and fragmentized. However, at its most wide ranging it embraces every aspect of artistic production.”8 The quote captures a core challenge of technical art history.

The Bard Graduate Center research project Conserving Active Matter, which took place in 2022, is a good example of how technical art history can indeed be wide-ranging and imaginative. Over its ten-year course, the project fostered a dialogue between conservation, art history, archaeology, philosophy, and anthropology. However, the book that presented the final project outcomes in 2022 still highlights the divide by starting out with two introductions, one by a conservator, Soon Kai Poh, the other by a historian, Peter N. Miller.9 This shows that even a distinctly collaborative research programme is not aimed at effacing the difference between a technical and a historical approach to (art) objects. Rather it encourages continuously moving back and forth between them. I like to think of technical art history as something agile, invested in dialogue, and continuously dancing across the apparent divide between the library and the laboratory.

Catherine: I see the epistemological frame of reference for technical art history, at its heart, encompassing art historical, conservation, and scientific knowledge. However, sociological and economic factors play a big part in artists’ choices of materials, the significance of these choices, and the methods employed. Consequently, methodologies that deal with these branches of knowledge must also be considered.

The methodologies used in technical art history often come from closely aligned disciplines that engage with material culture, such as archeology and sociology. While each technical art historical investigation will by necessity use a unique combination of methodologies (I am responding to this question from the headspace of my own PhD, where I use a combination of the methodologies of object biography, material culture studies, post-processual archaeology, and prosopography), I see object biography and post-processualism as relevant to all technical art historical investigations, particularly when considering art as material culture and when researching artists from the past. Put simply, these methodologies consider the object (the artworks) not as a fixed state but changing both physically (in response to the environment/age/deterioration), as well as subject to the external surroundings and impacts from the cultural position in which the artwork is presently, and has been, situated. The artwork’s context, meaning, value, as well as physical interventions by others, are all considered.

Q3: Where do you see room for improvement when it comes to integrating the technical perspectives offered by technical art history into more traditional art historical settings?

Gerry: Conservation scientists, conservators/restorers, makers, connoisseurs, dealers, and curators particularly value knowledge of the material for a better understanding of objects and their subject. In his talk that I mentioned previously, Muñoz-Viñas voiced conservators’ practical concerns with “What questions do I need to answer? What kind of knowledge do I need to apply?” General research, just as practical treatment, benefits from collaboration between disciplines to apply object knowledge for the broader subject. Collaboration can lead by demonstrating what is achievable in this way – as with the contributions to Materia. Most important is maximising the interest and value of such work for the broader public.

Nicholas: My view is that technical art history and the materiality of art should be a normative part of art history as a whole - that it should be for instance taught as part of introductory courses on art history. For this to happen there needs to be a range of appropriately informative and inviting material to support pedagogy. Related, one of the abiding problems of technical art history has been that the knowledge that we would want to teach has been disseminated across many different sources, from a maze of journals to exhibition catalogues to conference proceedings to specialist books to informational websites; we need to be able to better navigate this material through higher-level texts that provide expert overviews of the key issues.

Another area that would benefit the field immensely is greater sharing and access to the data we all produce in our work. I frequently want to study information from a different perspective to that under which it was originally produced. For instance, I might be interested in the range of materials used in a particular period, and have to work using data from a variety of projects that, say, target individual artists or artworks with quite different purposes. The underlying data collected, whether it is material analytic, historical documentary, or suchlike, may get obscured by interpretation.

Kendall: As someone that has recently studied as an undergraduate and postgraduate student, there are still many of these traditional barriers within our cultural heritage field of study that continue to uphold models of western white supremacy.10 These restrictive approaches to our history and objects linger in the veins of our art history books, within the systems we use to analyse artworks, and what information is eventually disseminated to the public.

It is for that reason that I believe technical art history can aid in the endeavour to diversify our professions, organisations, and cultural institutions. As previously mentioned, technical art history allows us to achieve diverse, unique, and holistic research and links. It allows a new generation to look at paintings how they want to, and not how they are told. It is a way of making the unseen, excluded, and disregarded sections of our past, present, and future humanity feel seen, heard, accepted, and celebrated! This varied and more inclusive approach will allow our museums and educational institutions, especially those that predominantly contain and research western artworks, to become more accessible to future diverse aspirants.

The same can be applied to visitor engagement. With new ways of researching and looking comes exciting, fresh approaches to exhibiting and display; digital, immersive, and interactive exhibitions are fast becoming, in our post-Covid digital age, a much more approachable and accessible avenue into the museum world. This is in no way an attempt to replace the more traditional systems of observing, exploring and appreciating artworks – sitting for minutes or even hours in front of our favourite objects or paintings analysing and admiring every inch – This is obviously still extremely valuable, however, this same respect and reception should be shown for new methods of examination and dissemination to a wider public (despite the sometimes incredibly expensive tickets for these types of things, but that’s a whole different discussion).

Anisha: I see a lot of room for improvement in this integration. It seems that traditional art history is still the predominant method in learning how to study and appreciate art. This may be due to the resources needed to conduct technical art history. There could be more crossover between the two disciplines at conferences, where technical art history presentations could be integrated within the program so more people are exposed to the methods,but technical art history can be resource intensive, so it’s important to also consider ways for people to conduct technical analysis that is accessible, especially financially. A big part of technical art history is hands-on learning and access, and this is where institutions, and especially conservators, can play a role. Creating space and policies that allow researchers and the public tactical opportunities would go far in breaking down barriers. Highlighting projects that don’t always use sophisticated instruments can also show the creativity and possibility of technical art history that is more available to other researchers. Cultural heritage fields can be quite exclusive, so creating sustainable opportunities through funding sources and exhibitions that bring more people into this space is key.

Ann-Sophie: A state in which art history naturally includes the technical is difficult to achieve because “technical art history” not only describes the outcomes of certain art historical investigations, but also and maybe even more so, the infrastructure that is needed to perform the research. While anyone who is able to use a library and a museum can “do” art history, the hands-on engagement with art works, that is necessary for most technical analysis, is restricted to a relatively small crowd. It consists of curators, conservators, and scientists with knowledge of and access to lab equipment, tools, and analytical methods. This infrastructure is costly and needs very specific human and material resources. Therefore, technical art history is often associated with physical places, where these resources have been brought together over years to create centers of expertise, such as the Rijksmuseum’s Ateliergebouw in Amsterdam, the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, or the Dörner Institute in Munich. The accumulation of resources in particular places makes technical art history potentially exclusive.

But art history should not be put off by such exclusiveness. There are many ways to include the technical beyond the access to advanced analytical machinery. For instance, by visiting technical art history places with students; by inviting the people within the infrastructure to move outside, to engaging in (hands-on) teaching; by teaching art history as a collaborative discipline, in which technical knowledge is not exclusive to the place where it is generated, but once published can be understood and used by anyone. By creating opportunities for students as early as possible to engage hands-on with art’s materials and techniques in order to engender curiosity. And more fundamentally by questioning paradigms that determine what artworks get to be conserved and by whom and opening up technical art history to include low-tech methods and participatory care for art works and objects.11

Anyone who engages in broadening the field knows that it is time-consuming, needs network maintenance and convincing managers to free extra funds. But it is usually worthwhile. Art historians will benefit from knowledge about techniques and materials and so does the general public. Such knowledge also helps to think beyond the discipline and explore much needed ecological approaches to art as every question about an artistic material and the techniques connected to it – be it lead, plastic, water, or cobalt blue pigment – leads to questions about origins and the economical, social, and ecological impacts of harvest, transport, use, in other words, art’s material sustainability.

Catherine: I think that the growing availability of technical art history courses offered by universities around the world,12 and opportunities for object-based learning, shows that technical art history has gained traction. I think conservators and those undertaking technical art history need to be more vocal at art history conferences and agitate for “technical” chapters to be included in exhibition catalogues, to widen the audience of the field.

There are many contemporary artists who engage with the material aspects of their work, for example the work of printmaker (and conservator) Sam Hodge (Figs. 1 and 2), and as seen in the artwork The American Library (Activists) by Yinka Shonibare.13 I think discussion of these contemporary artists’ engagement with materiality would be a useful vector for elevating the concept of materiality in art historical study.

Expand Fig. 1 Sam Hodge, Carboniferous 10, coal pigment in gum arabic on Arches paper, with collage of coal pigment and acrylic medium on Japanese tissue, 2021, 39 x 29 cm.
Expand Fig. 2 Sam Hodge, Exchange, coal dust and acrylic medium on Japanese tissue, 2021, 81 x 117cm.

Q4: Can you give some recent inspiring examples where technical art history has been successfully integrated as part of a broader art historical research project? Feel free to use examples from your own institution/research.

Gerry: Having worked in the National Trust since 2016, based at the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio, Knole, I have hugely enjoyed collaborating with different specialists all fascinated by understanding changes made to properties across the country. Colleagues include conservators of historic interiors, textiles, paintings, frames, furniture, ‘objects,’ as well as dendrochronologists, paint analysts, curators, art historians/academics, students, volunteers, builders, archaeologists, and sometimes the ‘historic family’ of these places. This collaborative work is based on the study of objects, materials, and archives etc. that are all considered within complex and changing settings and wider contexts – subjects of mass ongoing interest, but which can still go much further.

At Knole, following collaborations with those colleagues listed above, I wrote an article with the curator outlining how material, technical and archival research increased the understanding of important changes to the house.14 Part of this research established the original order of hang, by material examination, of a set of thirty-eight oil-on-panel portraits around the frieze of the Cartoon Gallery that was temporarily uncovered as part of the huge conservation project to the whole house. Collaboration with another colleague led to an article emphasising how this ongoing project relied upon the research of specialists across a great range of disciplines.15

Nicholas: I generally take any publication where the technical information is in the body of the text rather than an afterthought appendix as a win! However, a couple of more concrete examples would be the work done on Cranach by Gunnar Heydenreich,16 the Brueghel workshop by Christina Curry, Dominique Allart and colleagues,17 and the more recent catalogue of Florentine paintings in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich.18 Each represents a good example of close integration of material derived from technical studies with art historical insights and important sources to draw on in my day-to-day work.

From a different perspective, the book I wrote with my colleagues Valentine Walsh, Tracey Chaplin and Ruth Siddall, The Pigment Compendium, has been selling steadily since we originally published it in 2004. Having gone through a number of reprints we are now looking at producing a second edition. What has been most extraordinary though has been the range of contexts in which it is cited, spanning not only technical art history as one might expect, but all sorts of esoteric science topics such as the functioning of novel solar cells and the synthesis of high-temperature superconductors! I hope that through this kind of cross-discipline sourcing of knowledge, the field of technical art history will be more widely recognised.

Kendall: While working as a conservation fellow at the National Gallery London, I was encouraged to start a personal, long-term project which aims to trace the legacies of slavery, colonialism and exploitation in artists’ materials. I felt compelled to start this research after six years of study being immersed in white-dominated and traditional environments of art and cultural heritage which continued colonialist patterns of white supremacy. I also found myself having to navigate experiences of direct and indirect discrimination as most of the time I was the only Black or Ethnic Minority person in the space. Therefore, after writing an article that was recently published on – “The absence of Black and Ethnic Minorities in UK heritage conservation” – I included a section on decolonisation and why it is essential to have diverse voices to re-address the homogenous and traditional behaviours of decision-making in our institutions for our cultural heritage.19 Therefore, realising the power of this, I wanted to do something and having a privileged platform at the National Gallery was a great place to start.

The subject and research intentions lend themselves distinctly to the comprehensive and holistic approach of technical art history, being able to utilise my knowledge and enthusiasm for conservation, conservation science, art history and social history. I aim to explore this question concerning western colonialist rapacious history and its implicit legacy in artists’ materials, to better understand, acknowledge and address the unseen contributions exploitation and slavery have played in the creation of artworks. Meanwhile recognising the roles of the forgotten people in order to celebrate them, their cultures, and communities. Presently, the project is focusing on materials used in western paintings by firstly tracing the various and altering sources to establish the exploitative productions, colonial historical origins and celebrate the implicit contributions of marginalised people. Secondly, the material is identified in various paintings, through scientific analysis and contemporary manuals, and the artist’s use, source and knowledge of the appropriated materials is explored through primary sources. Lastly, the colonisation and exploitation of peoples and land for these materials fuelled the development of the western world and afforded institutions and people to patron or collect works of art, for that reason, I am including the monetary capital gained from these materials with links to the patrons and sitters.

I was invited to create a film about my initial research on indigo for the National Gallery (and various TikTok videos) which have already achieved great feedback and positive responses from audiences that were not previously familiar with the gallery or involved with cultural heritage: this includes a professor in literature studies that felt inspired to write and publish a poem about indigo, and a letter from a gentleman in the US-Virgin Islands that is re-educating the descendants of enslaved West African peoples (who had been skilled in making/using the dye for centuries) on how to produce indigo again.

Anisha: My most recent work is in history settings, not art museums, but I believe this project would still apply. Though Benjamin Franklin has been thoroughly studied, I discovered that his work in creating paper currency was understudied, especially the technical and material aspects. In the 1740s, Franklin received a contract from the Pennsylvania colony to create paper currency that could not be counterfeited. Given the secrecy of this work, Franklin never published the details of this process due to the anti-counterfeit measures he employed. Until recently, very little was known about how he created unique yet reproducible prints, as well as his distinct papermaking process. In my research, I conducted fiber analysis of Franklin’s paper currency to start understanding his process. For many years, historians believed Franklin used a mix of cotton and asbestos to create a durable and anti-flammable currency. Franklin had conducted several experiments to create asbestos paper, which has anti-flammable properties. Since it would be many years until we understood the health risks of asbestos, it was considered to be a very useful material, especially for paper meant to circulate hundreds of times. In my analysis, however, I found only linen fibers throughout. This was a surprising discovery, and since we have no records from Franklin, it’s unclear why he chose not to incorporate asbestos into the paper. The idea of asbestos paper may have been perpetuated as another anti-counterfeit measure. Creating paper from asbestos at this time was exceedingly rare, so it might have discouraged counterfeit paper. These findings were incorporated into an exhibition at the American Philosophical Society Library & Museum entitled Dr.Franklin: Citizen Scientist, focused on Franklin and his scientific methods.

Ann-Sophie: For education, my favorite example is the compulsory first year course Paint to Pixel. Artists’ Materials & Techniques Through the Ages that we have been teaching as part of the art history bachelor in Groningen University since 2016. It includes several sessions in the workshops of the local Art Academy Minerva. Each year these visits need to be organized and though we know how to do it by now, each year we grapple again with the simple fact that the university and the academy operate at different scales and paces.

How, for instance, does one fit sixty first-year art history students into one workshop? The space is simply not big enough. So we depend on the interest and goodwill of the workshop experts, often also practicing artists, to let us in and share their space and knowledge about lithographic stones and ink, pigments, clay, 3D printing, analogue photography, wood, bookbinding, metal etc. The goodwill is there, mainly because these practitioners know that art historians who have learned to acknowledge the material workings of art are likely to form a more thorough and realistic understanding of artworks and artists, both past and future ones. This course also includes small reconstruction assignments of historical recipes, inspired by Pamela H. Smith’s Making and Knowing project that she ran until 2021 at Columbia University, New York, and the ERC ARTTECHNE programme headed by Sven Dupré at Utrecht University until 2020. Finally, the students keep a material diary, in which they collect real everyday materials and reflect on their properties in relation to art making.

These small practice-based interventions included in this and other courses at BA and MA level are related to relevant theory in order to show how both domains connect. So while we cannot offer full-blown or extensive training in conservation, we are nevertheless able to instill technical thinking and material literacy with the result that students and future generation art historians will move more easily between “regular” art history and technical art history, and eventually include materials and techniques as a given in their own research.

In 2021, Karen Leonard, professor of art history at the University of Konstanz approached us together with the conservation science programme at the University of Gothenburg to develop an Erasmus+ Blended Intensive Programme. We called it “Caring for Art and Nature” and ran it for the first time in the summer of 2022 (https://www.uni-konstanz.de/fr/international-participation-und-erasmus-humanities/partner-und-kooperationen/kurzprogramme-und-sommerschulen/2022-blended-intensive-programme-caring-for-art-and-nature/). Caring for Art and Nature brings together art history, archaeology, landscape history, and conservation science students at BA, MA, and PhD level for hybrid lectures and a physical summer school to learn about and experience the connections and differences between art and nature conservation and foster ecological approaches in all disciplines. The programme will run for some years and we hope to include more universities in the future.

The NWO research project Curious Hands. Moving Making to the Core of Education at Groningen was inspired by such educational efforts. It is not a technical art history project but it explores the pedagogical dimensions of teaching “making” and we gather valuable information that helps us to integrate hands-on education into art history curricula.

Next to the already mentioned Conserving Active Matter project (Bard Graduate Center) and the ERC project DURARE: Dynamics of the Durable: A History of Making Things Last in the Visual and Decorative Arts, headed by Marjolijn Bol at the University of Utrecht (https://durare.sites.uu.nl), I would like to single out the research project Dimensionen der Techne in den Künsten (Dimensions of techne in the Fine Arts. Manifestations, Systems, Narratives) funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and headed by Magdalena Bushardt at the TU Berlin since 2020. Together with researchers at the Universities of Bochum and Konstanz it brings together art historians, historians of science, conservators and literary scholars in several interdisciplinary projects, including many PhD’s. Next to the direct research outcomes, a larger aim is to create more space for technical approaches and their historical and theoretical dimensions in German-speaking art history.

Within the field of contemporary art, the work of scholars like Fernando Domínguez Rubio, Glenn Wharton, Hanna Hölling, and Caroline Bohlmann is inspiring because it shows how the contemporary is in touch with a long history of ephemerality in art. 20

Catherine: The “Art in the Making” series published by the London National Gallery in the 1990s is an obvious example,21 but more recent ones include Painting Light: The Hidden Techniques of the Impressionists in Germany,22 and my own research on the materials and techniques of E. Phillips Fox, which was included as a technical essay in the exhibition “E. Phillips Fox and Ethel Carrick: Art, Life and Love” at the Queensland Art Gallery in 2010.23

Another example is from a conservator working in a curatorial space, when Alex Gent co-curated the exhibition “Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint” at the Wallace Collection in 2015.24 There was also a technical art historical component to the Francis Hodgkins “European Journeys” exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery in New Zealand in 2019,25 which was the result of collaboration between curators and conservators at this institution. Another more recent example is the exhibition “Didar: stories of Middle Eastern Manuscript” held at the University of Melbourne,26 which was curated by a conservator and focused on the materiality of the Middle Eastern manuscript collection.

I think technical art historical chapters should be a part of exhibition publications, and planning for these included at the inception of the project. This kind of planning necessitates collaboration between conservators and curators, and recognition of the value of technical art historical perspectives from museum and gallery management.

Q5: Having read the responses from the other contributors, would you like to offer any further reflections or comments?

Gerry: These contributions have highlighted the importance of training programmes seeking new ways to broaden and diversify the focus of their established disciplines. Kendall’s thoughts on diversity and inclusion reminded me of Michael Yonan’s writing on centre and periphery – “how the materiality of art operates as a periphery in art-historical interpretation.”27 He concluded that article by saying:

Combining materiality and visuality into a single interpretation complicates the scholar’s task considerably. It requires them to shift focus within a single interpretation, to think along multiple lines simultaneously, to overlay distinct procedures onto each other to create complex and sometimes disorienting procedural interactions with objects. Yet that seems to me a challenge worth facing. Doing so would have the immediate benefit for art history of moving materiality out of the periphery. It would also have the larger benefit of destabilizing a secure centre/periphery critical structure, of constantly changing the scholarly focus so that no permanent periphery can form.28

In a similar way, scientific analysis using sophisticated instruments is often understood to comprise the centre of technical art history – with other aspects, such as practical construction of timber joinery, being on the periphery. So, I was pleased Ann-Sophie quoted Erma Hermens in stating how, at its most wide-ranging, technical art history embraces every aspect of artistic production. I also enjoyed how Ann-Sophie considers “technical art history as something agile, invested in dialogue, and continuously dancing across the apparent divide between the library and the laboratory.” Similarly, I think our collaborations should dance across other apparent divides between workshop, campus, studio, museum, gallery, house, landscape…and broader audiences.

Nicholas: This is a really interesting exercise! The responses by everyone serve to show the diversity in current conceptions and practices of technical art history. Even though the term has been around since the 1990s, we are still a young field and things are not set yet.

Kendall: I think we can agree from all responses, Ann-Sophie’s quote is a wonderful way to describe technical art history as “agile, invested in dialogue, and continuously dancing across the apparent divide between the library and the laboratory.” And for me, I found this “dance” in just reading the biographies of the participants. The background, interests and achievements of all participants combine numerous disciplines: conservators of several specialties, writers, teachers, a physicist, preventive conservation, researchers etc… All from different areas of the globe, at different stages of careers “invested in dialogue” with themselves and others. It is this collaboration, acceptance, and enthusiasm which really allows us to fully understand our cultural heritage holistically, and as Nicholas defined technical art history as “whatever its practitioners choose to research, discuss and publish.” Exactly that! When there are no rigid rules and an embrace of new interpretation, this “dance” can be excitingly free and plays a significant role in filling the gaps of our history.

Anisha: Kendall’s responses linking colonialism and technical art history were thought-provoking and inspiring. While I believe that almost any profession can help in diversifying institutions and professions, technical art history has technological and financial barriers that can make it less accessible than other fields. As Kendall outlines, technical art history can create dynamic and exciting visitor engagement approaches, generating more public interest. But creating opportunities for more people to be actively involved in technical art history seems challenging. There are training barriers, as well as the expensive equipment and its lack of availability. In no way do I think it is not possible, but I would love to explore the sustainability of technical art history from the ground up, acknowledging that in order to make it inclusive and accessible means making that a priority from the very beginning of projects and research. Kendall’s example at the National Gallery is particularly inspiring, creating content that is already easily utilized and having an impact in classrooms and with artists. It’s a great model of how this work really can be widely consumed and shared without a lot of money and access but through a large platform.

Ann-Sophie: This was a great exercise and I would like to thank the Materia editors for putting this interview together. What strikes me about the answers is how they illustrate technical art history’s ability to connect extremely specialized expert knowledge to publics outside of institutions by way of “following materials.” This can be seen in Kendall’s description of how red lake production pulls you across the globe and her’s and others projects on colonialism and materials, as well as Anisha’s focus on inclusion are examples of that, as is Gerry’s experience at the Royal Oak Foundation Conservation Studio. The way he describes how his work brings together diverse experts and amateurs around wooden objects is also illustrative of the immense social potential of the care work that conservators perform: it pulls people together across disciplines, forms of knowledge, class etc. and connects them around the tangible things that need caring for.

Another aspect that comes to the fore in all answers and reflections here is the inherent interdisciplinarity of the field. Weaving together art and science is daily business, and where else would one find such exciting methodological intersections? For instance, Catherine describes how she combined approaches for her PhD research: “object biography, material culture studies, post-processual archaeology and prosopography”. Sometimes I think that this field is too modest and should celebrate its exciting and boundary-defying approaches with more confidence.

Catherine: I was really interested in Kendall’s project tracing legacies of slavery, colonialism, and exploitation in artists’ materials, and I was reminded of a talk that I recently attended in Australia by an Attingham Trust scholar. The speaker discussed UK country homes engaging with the histories of exploitation in the artworks in their collections, such as mahogany wood harvested by enslaved people, from which many Chippendale pieces are made.29 Like Kendall’s work on indigo in National Gallery paintings, this example illustrates how technical art history deepens our understanding of artworks and compels us to acknowledge complex histories.

I agree with Nicholas that any publication that has technical information in the body of the text rather than an appendix or afterthought is a big step towards valuing our work. And I agree that technical art history should be taught as part of all introductory art history courses, wherever possible. The multi/inter/trans-disciplinarity of both conservation and technical art history has often been remarked on and celebrated, and here I concur with Nicholas that there is no overarching framework for “technical art history,” and that the field is hard to define. I also enjoyed Ann-Sophie’s remarks that technical art history is “agile” and relies on continuous dialogue between the technical and historical approach, between the library and the laboratory.

  1. Michael Yonan, “Technical Art History and the Art Historical Thing,” Materia: Journal of Technical Art History, Vol 1, Issue 1 (2021), https://volume-1-issue-1.materiajournal.com/article-my/; Emma Jansson, “Towards a “Theory” for Technical Art History,” Materia: Journal of Technical Art History, Vol, 1, Issue 1 (2021), https://volume-1-issue-1.materiajournal.com/article-ej/. ↩︎

  2. Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, “Materiality, Sign of the Times,” The Art Bulletin, 101:4 (2019): 6-7. ↩︎

  3. https://academicprojects.co.uk/courses/beyond-science-reflections-on-the-nature-of-the-conservators-knowledge/ which was subsequently reworked into his article: “Conservation science, conservation practice and the conservator’s knowledge: a naïve exploration,” Journal of the Institute of Conservation , Vol. 45, No. 3 (2022): 173-189. ↩︎

  4. Nicholas Eastaugh, “From source to chronology: studies on macro-scale behaviour in art technology,” in The Artist’s Process. Technology and Interpretation. Proceedings of the fourth symposium of the Art Technological Source Research Working Group, , eds. Sigrid Eyb-Green, Joyce H. Townsend, Mark Clarke, Jilleen Nadolny and Stefanos Kroustallis (London, Archetype Press Ltd., 2012): 1-9. ↩︎

  5. George Kubler, The Shape of Time. Remarks on the History of Things, New Haven and London: Yale University Press 1970 (6^th^ edition: 126. ↩︎

  6. Jules David Prown, “Mind in Matter: An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method,” Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring, 1982): 1-19. ↩︎

  7. Andreas Huth & Katharine Stahlbuhk, “Awareness of Materiality in Time and Condition. Thoughts on the Relation between Art History and Conservation,” in Heritage for Future, 1/2018: Conservation Ethics Today: Are our Conservation-Restoration Theories and Practice ready for the 21th Century?, ed. Ursula Schädler-Saub, Bogusław Szmygin; International Scientific Committee for Theory and Philosophy of Conservation and Restoration-ICOMOS (2018): 71-86. ↩︎

  8. Erma Hermens, “Technical art history. The synergy of art, conservation and science,” in Art history and visual studies in Europe. Transnational discourses and national frameworks, eds. M. Rampley et al. (Leiden, 2012): 151–165. ↩︎

  9. Peter N. Miller and Soon Kai Poh, Conserving Active Matter (New York, Bard Graduate Center, 2022). ↩︎

  10. See, for example: Joelle D. J. Wickens & Anisha Gupta, “Leadership: the Act of Making Way for Others,” Studies in Conservation, 67:sup1 (2022): 319-325, DOI: 10.1080/00393630.2022.2065956. In this article Joelle Wickens and Anisha Gupta discuss white supremacy in relation to conservation with an informative framework defined by Tema Okun which lists fifteen attitudes and behaviors of White Supremacy Culture, how they manifest and how they maintain power. See also: Kendall Francis, “The absence of black and ethnic minority representation in UK heritage conservation and the value of including diverse voices,” Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 44:3, (2021): 183-196, DOI: 10.1080/19455224.2021.1974066. In this article I discuss White Dominant Culture in relation to academic environments, homogeneous decision making in conservation and the barriers this causes accessing cultural heritage. ↩︎

  11. See: Jane Henderson, “Beyond lifetimes: who do we exclude when we keep things for the future?,” Journal of the Institute of Conservation, 43:3 (2020): 195-212 ↩︎

  12. Examples include the Masters in Technical Art History at the University of Glasgow (https://www.gla.ac.uk/postgraduate/taught/technical-art-history/ accessed: 28 November 2022), and the University of Amsterdam (https://www.uva.nl/en/programmes/masters/conservation-and-restoration-of-cultural-heritage/study-programme/technical-art-history/technical-art-history.html?cb accessed 28 November 2022).

    See also: Ian McClure and Carol Snow, “Teaching Technical Art History at the Yale University Art Gallery,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin, Teaching with Art (2013): 72-81. ↩︎

  13. Both artists’ websites contain many images of their works. See: samhodge.com (accessed: 29 November 2022) for additional examples of Hodge’s work and her engagement with materiality. In Shonibare’s practice, his use of “African” wax print fabric is a metaphor for colonial relationships between Africa and Europe, and the materiality of the fabric embodies complex layers of meaning. See: yinkashonibare.com/(accessed: 29 November 2022). ↩︎

  14. Gerry Alabone and Emma Slocombe, “The Knole Cartoon gallery,” Arts, Buildings, Collections Bulletin (Summer, 2017): 9-12, [https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/discover/history/art-collections/cultural-heritage-publishing#cb-138348026-0] ↩︎

  15. Gerry Alabone and Olivia Stoddart, “Thomas Sackville’s hall of fame: displaced, reinvented and preserved at Knole,” Royal Society Notes and Records ournal, Vol. 76, No. 2 (2022): 243-272, https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsnr.2021.0044 ↩︎

  16. Gunnar Heydenreich, Lucas Cranach the Elder: Painting Materials, Techniques and Workshop Practice (Amsterdam University Press, 2007). ↩︎

  17. Christina Curry and Dominique Allart, The Brueghel Phenomenon, 3 vols. (Brussels, Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage, 2012). ↩︎

  18. Andreas Schumacher, Annette Kranz and Annette Hojer, Florentiner Malerei Alte Pinakothek (Berlin and Munich, Alte Pinakothek/Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2017). ↩︎

  19. See footnote 10. ↩︎

  20. https://www.akbild.ac.at/en/institutes/conservation-restoration/events/lectures-events/2022/best-available-copy-3-the-preservation-of-time-based-media-art-again-and-again-and-again; https://fdrubio.ucsd.edu/research; ↩︎

  21. See for example: David Bomford, John Leighton, Jo Kirby and Ashok Roy, Art in the Making: Impressionism (London, National Gallery, in association with Yale University Press, 1990). ↩︎

  22. ​​Iris Schaefer, Caroline Saint-George and Katja Lewerentz, Painting Light: the Hidden Techniques of the Impressionists (Milan and London, Skira and Thames & Hudson, 2008). ↩︎

  23. Catherine Nunn, “‘Less slick and not so clever’ The materials and techniques of the Foxes,” in Art, Life & Love: Ethel Carrick and E. Phillips Fox, ed. Angela Goddard, exh. cat. (Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery, 2011): 122-127. For the exhibition “Art Life & Love: Ethel Carrick & E. Phillips Fox,” held 16 April – 7 August 2011, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane. ↩︎

  24. Alexandra Gent, “Reynolds, Paint and Painting: A Technical Analysis,” in Joshua Reynolds Experiments in Paint, eds. Lucy Davis and Mark Hallet, exh. cat. (London, Wallace Collection, 2015): 42-53. ↩︎

  25. ​​Mary Kisler and Catherine Hammond, Frances Hodgkins: European Journeys, exh. cat. (Auckland, Auckland University Press, 2019). ↩︎

  26. See: https://arts.unimelb.edu.au/about/arts-west-gallery/current-exhibition accessed: 28 November 2022. ↩︎

  27. Michael Yonan, “Materiality as Periphery,” Visual Resources, Vol. 35, No. 3-4 (2019): 200-216. ↩︎

  28. Ibid. ↩︎

  29. See: https://paxtonhouse.co.uk/mahogany-and-slavery/ accessed: 29 November 2022. ↩︎

Gerry Alabone
Dr. Nicholas Eastaugh
Kendall Francis
Anisha Gupta
Prof. Ann-Sophie Lehmann
Catherine Nunn
Fig. 1 Sam Hodge, Carboniferous 10, coal pigment in gum arabic on Arches paper, with collage of coal pigment and acrylic medium on Japanese tissue, 2021, 39 x 29 cm.
Fig. 2 Sam Hodge, Exchange, coal dust and acrylic medium on Japanese tissue, 2021, 81 x 117cm.