This project is a collaboration between Imaging and Sensing for Archaeology, Art history and Conservation (ISAAC) Lab at Nottingham Trent University, the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The museums have a broad range of enamelled objects from around the world. Enamels are thin layers of coloured glass bound to a substrate. They have been traded around the world for centuries. While various cultures have developed their own enamelling technology throughout history, there are also exchanges in the technology across geographic locations from East Asia to Europe. The deterioration of enamels is also very complex and poorly understood. Recent research has shown that there is a very good correlation between the level of hydration of the glass surface and structural damage within enamels, making it possible to rapidly assess the level of deterioration of enamels using hyperspectral imaging. Enamels from different manufacturing centres and stored in different environments will be characterised using a suite of complementary non-invasive imaging and spectroscopic modalities from optical coherence tomography, hyperspectral imaging, X-ray fluorescence mapping to Raman spectroscopy. This will allow an understanding of the effects of material composition, manufacturing techniques and storage environment on the deterioration of enamels, as well as a study of the global link between the different manufacturing centres through a comparison of material composition and manufacturing techniques of enamels in the early modern period.
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