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Pollution and the National Gallery

David Saunders
Technical Bulletin Volume 21, 2000


The major pollutants of the 19th century are outlined and their perceived effect on paintings displayed throughout the century are described by means of documentary evidence. Preventive measures against the effects of 19th-century smoke and dust are discussed, along with the attempts to quantify pollutants throughout the 20th century. The effects of each pollutant on artists' oil painting materials are summarized briefly. Pollutant levels in air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned galleries are compared, and current monitoring procedures for pollutant gases are outlined. Measurements of dust concentrations in galleries over the last decade are also presented and discussed.


air conditioned, artists' materials, monitoring, National Gallery (London, England), pollution, pollutants

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Saunders, D. 'Pollution and the National Gallery'. National Gallery Technical Bulletin Vol 21, pp 77–94.

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