Portable remote hyperspectral imaging for in situ examination of wall paintings

Lead Research Organisation: Nottingham Trent University
Department Name: School of Science & Technology

Abstract

The recording of high resolution spectral images and non-invasive monitoring of wall paintings in grotto sites, tombs and buildings are particularly important since these paintings are extremely vulnerable. The remoteness of some of the sites, the inaccessible height of some of the paintings and the difficulty in controlling the environment they are in, all contribute to their vulnerability. Imaging of wall paintings at high resolution currently requires either scaffolding or some heavy and cumbersome mechanical structure to lift the camera to the upper parts of a wall or ceiling. The aim of the proposed project is to develop a portable imaging system that is light-weight and flexible for in situ high resolution, accurate colour and spectral imaging in the visible/near infrared (400-1000nm) and short-wave infrared (900nm-1700nm), including fluorescence imaging of wall paintings and other large paintings from ground level. The system would provide the means of non-invasive monitoring of the conditions of the paintings, revealing past intervention, studying painting techniques and identifying pigments and disseminating the 3D colour images to the general public. The portability of the system means that it can be taken to remote sites to image paintings in situ without the need for scaffolding or other cumbersome mechanical structures and that it can also be used to image large museum paintings and painted objects in situ at high resolution.
 
Description The recording of high resolution spectral images and non-invasive monitoring of wall paintings in grotto sites, tombs and buildings are particularly important since these paintings are extremely vulnerable. The remoteness of some of the sites, the inaccessible height of some of the paintings and the difficulty in controlling the environment they are in, all contribute to their vulnerability. Imaging of wall paintings at high resolution currently requires either scaffolding or some heavy and cumbersome mechanical structure to lift the camera to the upper parts of a wall or ceiling. This project developped a portable imaging system that is light-weight and flexible for in situ high resolution, accurate colour and spectral imaging in the visible/near infrared (400-1000nm) and short-wave infrared (900nm-1700nm) imaging of wall paintings and other large paintings from ground level. The system provides the means of non-invasive monitoring of the conditions of the paintings, revealing past intervention, studying painting techniques and identifying pigments and disseminating the 3D colour images to the general public. The portability of the system means that it can be taken to remote sites to image paintings in situ without the need for scaffolding or other cumbersome mechanical structures and that it can also be used to image large museum paintings and painted objects in situ at high resolution.
The capabilities of the instrument (PRISMS) has been extended such that it can be used for multispectral/hyperspectral imaging of small objects such as manuscripts at close range as well as imaging of distant large wall paintings.
Exploitation Route PRISMS is a versatile and flexible multispectral imaging system that can image objects at close distance or remotely for large scale paintings. It can be used in a wide range of applications from survey, construction, heritage communities to healthcare and biomedical research.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Environment,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description PRISMS developed in this project has been used to image cave paintings at UNESCO site of Mogao caves; imaging manuscripts and objects at National Museum of Ireland, National Gallery, Tower of London, Peterborough Cathedral, Victoria & Albert Museum, Bodleian Library, Shaanxi History Museum and other heritage sites including private conservators. It is also used for biomedical applications and Forensic Science.
First Year Of Impact 2007
Sector Education,Healthcare,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections,Security and Diplomacy
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description Funding from Irish National Museum to image the Fadden More Bog Bible
Amount £4,500 (GBP)
Organisation National Museum of Ireland 
Sector Public
Country Ireland
Start 11/2008 
End 11/2009
 
Description Optical Coherence Tomography and Multispectral Imaging of two Old Master Paintings
Amount £6,000 (GBP)
Organisation Shepherd Conservation Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2009 
End 12/2010
 
Description Optical Coherence Tomography and Multispectral Imaging of two Old Master Paintings
Amount £6,000 (GBP)
Organisation Shepherd Conservation Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2009 
End 10/2010
 
Description consultancy for Canadian Government
Amount £5,200 (GBP)
Organisation Ministry of Justice of the Province of British Columbia 
Sector Public
Country Canada
Start 04/2014 
End 09/2014
 
Description •Illusions of colour - a science and art collaboration with artist Catherine Baker
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Higher Education Funding Council for England 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2007 
End 04/2009
 
Description Collaboration on hyperspectral imaging at 900-1700nm 
Organisation Gooch & Housego
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Collaboration with Gooch & Housego plc. where their AOTF spectrograph is incorporated in our NIR hyperspectral imaging system. This is the first AOTF based spectral imaging system that operates in the short wave infrared region (900-1700nm) for terrestial applications.
Start Year 2006
 
Description Collaboration with Historic Royal Palaces 
Organisation Historic Royal Palaces
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Imaging the Queen's staircase ceiling painting from 12m away during visiting hours. The imaging process was part of the exhibition. PRISMS imaging of the 14th C wall painting at Byward tower in the Tower of London resulting in 2 publications. Provided the first test case for PRISMS.
Start Year 2006
 
Description Gooch & Housego Plc 
Organisation Gooch & Housego
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2007
 
Description Imaging manuscripts and map with PRISMS at the Bodleian Library 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Bodleian Library
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution PRISMS was used to image ancient manucripts and the famous Seldon map at the Bodleian Library.
Start Year 2009
 
Description Imaging of Fadden More Bog Bible 
Organisation National Museum of Ireland
Country Ireland 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution PRISMS was used to image faded features on the bible which is a major archaeological find in Ireland
Start Year 2008
 
Description Imaging the ceiling of Peterborough Cathedral 
Organisation Peterborough Cathedral
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Peterborough Cathedral ceiling is more than 30m from the ground. It is not easy to get images of the ceiling paintings at a reasonable resolution with scaffolding. The project allow easy inspection of the ceiling paintings in the visible and near infrared.
Start Year 2012
 
Description Non-invasive spectral imaging of tomb mural paintings from Tang dynasty 
Organisation Shaanxi History Museum
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution First spectral imaging application on paintings in China
Start Year 2007
 
Description PRISMS remote imaging of Cave paintings at a UNESCO wall heritage site along the Silk Road 
Organisation Dunhuang Academy
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution PRISMS was used for remote spectral imaging of cave paintings at Mogao caves in Dunhuang providing art historical and conservation information.
Start Year 2011
 
Description Remote imaging of wall paintings at Kedleston Hall 
Organisation National Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution This is the first collaboration with the National Trust where Kedleston Hall was provided as a test ground for upgraded PRISMS.
Start Year 2011
 
Title PRISMS (Portable Remote Imaging System for Multispectral Scanning) 
Description An automated, portable, modular and flexible spectral imaging system spanning the wavelength range of 400-1700nm specifically designed for remote spctral imaging of wall paintings. 
Type Of Technology Physical Model/Kit 
 
Description Imaging the ceiling of Peterborough Cathedral 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Radio and local newspaper interviews.

inquires
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description New Scientist video 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience
Results and Impact New Scientist interview during imaging of the Byward tower painting.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
URL http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/culturelab/2010/11/medical-technology-sees-beyond-art.html