Edited by Bronwyn Ormsby (Tate, UK), Angelica Bartoletti (NOVA School of Science and Technology, Portugal), Klaas van den Berg (Cultural Heritage Agency, Netherlands), Chris Stavroudis (independent conservator, USA)
The complex challenges inherent to cleaning works of art and other cultural heritage — defined broadly as the removal of unwanted materials — have in recent years, benefited from enhanced research and practice efforts which have resulted in the development and evaluation of a range of new or modified options. These have facilitated new ways of approaching, executing, assessing and evaluating cleaning treatments across a wide range of heritage materials. Contributions to this special collection in Heritage Science include evaluated treatments on impactful case study works of art and other materials, the development and evaluated application of novel and modified cleaning materials, tools and approaches, and scientific explorations into cleaning materials and effects on a range of cultural materials. The papers collectively provide a snapshot of ongoing work, including how recent developments in cleaning tools and understanding from projects such as Nanorestart, the Cleaning of Modern Oil Paints and many others are influencing practice and refining research questions to help achieve treatment aims while also lowering risks to users and cultural heritage, as well as enhancing sustainability.
Image: Analyzing the surfaces of Winsor and Newton oil paint swatches using Fourier Transform Infrared–Attenuated Total Reflectance (FTIR–ATR) spectroscopy at Tate. © J. Paul Getty Trust.