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Art in the making

Listen to curators, conservators and staff from the Scientific Department at the Gallery talking about some of their latest discoveries

About the tour

Hear curators, conservators and staff from the Scientific Department talking about the techniques used to create some of the masterpieces in the National Gallery Collection. Get beneath the surface of the paintings; find out what has been discovered using x-rays and modern scientific techniques.

Listen to extracts about four paintings from the collection:

Research at the Gallery

The National Gallery has been researching the history of painting technique since the 1940s. Modern scientific methods, including x-rays, pigment analysis, and microscopic inspection, yield fascinating insights into artists’ working methods.

In this feature, listen to members of the National Gallery’s Conservation and Scientific Departments talk about the discoveries they have made. Find out about the techniques and materials which have been used in a selection of very different paintings.

The audio tour

The full 'Art in the making' audio tour is available from any of the audio guide desks in the Gallery.


  • Adult: £3.50 (or £1.00 when purchased with the Collection audio tour)   
  • Concessions: £2.50
  • Groups of over 10 people: £2.00
  • Children under 12: free with a paying adult

The audio tour has been sponsored by Hewlett Packard whose technology helps to research and conserve the Gallery’s masterpieces.

Next: Listen to the first extract on A Muse (Calliope?)