23 February 2012
Newly digitised Technical Bulletin archive makes the Gallery's groundbreaking research available online, free.
X-ray machines, infrared cameras, microscopes and mass-spectrometers might not be the first things that come to mind when people think about the National Gallery. However, they are essential to the research of the Scientific and Conservation departments, who work behind the scenes to investigate and preserve paintings in the collection.
Their vital research is charted in the National Gallery Technical Bulletin, which – since its launch in 1977 – has achieved a leading position in documenting the scientific examination of paintings. Previously only available in print form or by subscription, the digitisation of all 32 volumes of the Bulletin allows a wider audience to access unique research at the Gallery.
Over 200 articles can now be downloaded free from the Gallery's website. They provide insight into the materials and methods used by artists historically, the conservation and treatment of paintings, and how 21st-century scientific techniques can shed light on artworks of the past. Other articles deal with preventive conservation and digital documentation of paintings.
Online publication of the journal enables articles to be accompanied by high-resolution images and easily browsable indexes. Ashok Roy, Editor of the Technical Bulletin and Director of Science, described the digitisation of the Bulletin as a “spectacular achievement”:
“The online archive will be a lasting beacon to the Gallery’s leading research presence in this subject. It will be an invaluable resource for specialists and students working in the field, as well as general readers keen to broaden their knowledge of Old Master paintings.”
About the Technical Bulletin
The National Gallery Technical Bulletin was launched in 1977. It is a peer-review journal, edited by Ashok Roy, the Gallery's Director of Science. The Bulletin is published annually and widely regarded as essential reading for conservators, conservation scientists, art historians, collectors and curators. In 2009, the Technical Bulletin’s 30th anniversary was marked by a special edition and a conference held at the National Gallery.
Future issues of the Technical Bulletin will appear both in print and online. A selection of past volumes can still be purchased in print at the National Gallery shop.